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1 44^04 


BOOK 171.4.F498 c 1 


3 T1S3 OOOb^flfll 




Science of Happiness 


Jean Finot 

Member of the Academy of Sciences of Lisbon, of the Academy 

of Sciences of Rio de Janeiro, of the Academy of 

Coimbra, etc., etc. 

Author of "Problems of the Sexes," etc. 

Translated from the Tenth French Edition by 

Mary J. Saflford 

{Crowned by the French Academy) 

G. P. Putnam's Sons 

New York and London 

tTbe 1knicf?erbocfter press 



Copyright, 1914 



Ubc •RntcfterbocRer pvcse, flew Ifiorft 


r ■ Marquis and Marquise 



t^ J.F. 




Introduction . . . . . . i 


I. — A Science of Happiness — Is Such a 

Thing a Possibility ? . . . 8 

II. — Happiness Is within Us . . .26 

III. — Optimism and Pessimism ... 48 

IV. — Among the Unfortunate . . 109 

A. In the Kingdom of Envy . 109 

B. The Benefits of Sorrow . 122 

C. Prejudice of Wealth . -135 
V. — Happiness for All . . . .158 

A. Happiness through Goodness 158 

B. The Affections as Sources of 

Happiness . . . .176 

C. The Active Life and Happiness 198 
D: Happiness Accessible to All 205 
E. Religion and Religiousness 230 

vi Contents 


VI. — ^A Few Catechisms of Happiness . 272 

VII. — ^The Morality of Happiness . . 292 

Vni. — ^What Is Happiness ? . . . 312 

Conclusion . . . . • 326 

The Science of Happiness 

The Science of Happiness 



JVyiAN through repeated humihation has lost 
^^ ^ faith in his star, and has been rendered 
powerless and wretched. Often he is unduly 
unhappy, because he has been told that he is 
miserable. So many maladies have been sug- 
gested to him that he tosses in pain upon his 
bed, as if he were really ill. 

He has been led to believe that he cannot live 
beyond the age of eighty years, that he can 
develop only by exterminating his fellow-creatures 
or by laying down his life for them. He has been 
taught the prejudices of race, of religion, of riches. 
As a result man dies before his time, lives in a 
state of permanent warfare, hates his brother, 
creates around himself an atmosphere of envy, 
and suffers from the wounds that are thus inflicted. 

2 THe Science of Happiness 

Man is so accustomed to hearing his misfortunes 
discussed that it is very difficult for him to listen 
to those who speak to him of his happiness. His 
philosophy is mournful, as well as his morality, his 
poetry, his literature, and especially his history. 
He has been painted in such gloomy hues that he 
believes the brighter portraits to be inferior in 
their essence. He does not seem to understand 
that it is much easier to colour things black, just 
as it is easier to do evil than to do good. 

But man is full of contradictions. He desires 
long life and he yearns for happiness ; yet in reality 
he lives only a small portion of his existence and 
patiently sustains himself upon woes which he cre- 
ates of his own free will or permits others to impose. 

We shall never be able to do enough to combat 
these tendencies, which are so harmful to our 
destinies. "Conflict is noble, and hope is sub- 
lime,*' to use the words of Plato. So let us enter 
upon a battle for our happiness, a battle that is 
now more necessary than ever. A transformed 
society requires different thoughts for its guidance. 
The people should not only possess sovereign power, 
but their life and their virtues should also become 
sovereign. It is high time to restore to the people 
their happiness, just as their political rights have 
been redeemed. We are wrong to give our compre- 

Introd-uction 3 

hension of life the same immobility that ancient 
Egypt bestowed upon her gods. The time has 
come for the reshaping of our ideas of goodness, 
longing, sorrow, as well as of happiness. 

But let us reassure disenchanted souls. We are 
not members of the Pangloss family, who believe 
that everything is for the best in this best of 
worlds. Our greatness presupposes our woes. 
But these are not life, nor do they make man. 
Everything depends upon the angle from which 
they are beheld. Democritus laughed, and Hera- 
clitus wept over the vices of men, for all our 
acts seem comical to some, tragical to others. 
The best course is to apply them all to the ad- 
vantage of our happiness. After all, if we con- 
sider man happier than he really is, perhaps some 
additional happiness will follow. But misfortune, 
in any case, will have gained nothing. 

The reader will pardon the preceding explana- 
tion. It is not out of place. Men may be sad- 
dened with impunity, but even the desire to throw 
the windows wide open for the entrance of warmth 
and light is beginning to be regarded as dangerous. 


Let no one be repelled by the word science. 
There is science and science. The science referred 

4 THe Science of Happiness 

to in the title of this volume is full of tenderness. 
It is free from dogmatism and contains no impera- 
tive. Like the ancient Peripatetics, who taught 
in the form of off-hand conversations, it will strive 
to disengage precepts from facts, as the bees 
draw the honey from the flowers. Among so 
many useless sciences, it will at least possess the 
merit of dealing with the essential concerns of 
the entire human race. Let us hope that, on this 
account, many things will be forgiven. 

Reduced to the questions which are in the power 
of us all, the Science of Happiness would deserve 
to be constructed by all men. An optimistic 
science, it must be founded by the combined efforts 
of all who will become its beneficiaries and its 
artisans. Advantageous and charitable, perhaps 
it will play in the society of the future the part 
assumed by the "domestic philosophers" among 
the wealthy Romans. 

There is something touching in the almost 
divine mission which the majority of the subtle 
thinkers of Greece accomplished for Rome. They 
softened the vexations of existence, preached 
calmness of soul and the joys of Hving. While 
reading Seneca and Tacitus, we are pleasantly 
impressed by the details they furnish concerning 
these ingenious comforters. They knew how to 

Introdviction 5 

render death desirable and misfortune attractive. 
Canus Julius goes to execution accompanied by 
his philosopher. Livy, after the death of his son 
Drusus, seeks in conversations with Areus solace 
for his grief-stricken soul. Minucius suffers 
horribly at seeing the Emperor's favours turned 
from him, but Caecilius knows how to convince 
him that heaven is in this guise sending to him 
unexpected happiness. 

The rich had their philosophers as modern 
society women have their regular confessors. 
But the philosophers were only in the pay of the 
wealthy, and the confessors, alas! have lost their 
curative virtues. Perhaps the Scieyice of Happi- 
ness will be able to replace both, and become the 
vivifying spring which all souls thirsting for relief 
will approach to drink. 


Personal ambition holds no place in these pages. 
The author's merit — if merit he has — does not 
extend beyond that of striking the hour of assembly 
for the mutual work. By way of contribution, 
we will offer a few bricks for the future edifice. 
Perhaps, some day, they will be rejected as useless. 
What does that matter! The author will console 
himself. The certainty that others will triumph 

6 TKe Science of Happiness 

where he failed will henceforth reward him for 
his defeat. 

The Science of Happiness promises much. It 
will perform still more. It will be a delightful 
science, filled with the flowers of experience and, 
above all, with the smiles of happy mortals. 
Tears, our inevitable companions on this earth, 
will doubtless also appear. But they will be 
quiet tears, freed from individual bitterness, in 
order to be of service to our fellow-men. 

Pre-eminently an altruistic science, it will bear 
all the residuum of selfishness, of pleasure, and of 
personal troubles toward the great river of general 

A charming science, animated by indulgent 
kindness, it will envelop, as if in a radiant atmo- 
sphere, the terrible things of life: poverty and 
death itself. 

It is an attractive science, being devoid of 

It is a free science, liberated from all the morose 
fetters that hamper enthusiasm. It will also be a 
science of equality, and will salute with the same 
contagious good-will the rich and the poor, the 
strong and the weak, the famous and the obscure. 

In behalf of all, of the life of all, it will strive to 
release the soul of goodness from evil things, the 

Introdxjiction 7 

smile of happiness from the wry faces of life. In 
its presence, everything will harmonize in pursuit 
of the same object: to simplify, to increase, and 
to diffuse happiness upon the earth. In the midst 
of the deafening uproar of life, in the midst of the 
many dissonances that separate man and men, 
it will endeavour to find the celestial bond which, 
through the soul and the union of souls, unites 
all mortals for happiness. 

To both the lowly and the lofty ones of earth, 
this divine science will sing of the beauty and the 
power of the treasure placed within them- 
selves, far from all attack. It will demonstrate that, 
while running after things that are often illusive, 
and almost always inaccessible, the pursuer for- 
gets to pluck the deHciousfruits that adorn the road. 

Weary of our unrealisable desires, a prey to 
phantoms which attract us and then vanish cruelly 
at our approach, we shall perceive sources of 
happiness which with the utmost sweetness offer 
themselves to the poorest, most neglected, most 
unfortunate beings in the world. 

Jean Finot. 


I. During all the time that man has laughed 
or wept upon this earth, he has felt the stirring of 
the same longing. Before him, as the ultimate 
goal, ever remains the ideal of happiness, the 
supreme crown of all the efforts of his life. Sublime 
in his disinterestedness, or repulsive in his egotism, 
man does not cease to regard the problem of 
happiness as the principal subject of his dreams 
and of his thoughts. Variations occur only in 
his comprehension; for, as the lover of pleasure 
will seek to enrich himself to satisfy the appetites 
of his body and of his soul, the ascetic will strive 
to retire from the world to obtain in his solitude 
the happiness for which he has an equal thirst. 
He understands it in a different way, but he desires 
it no less eagerly. Consciously or unconsciously, 
the pleasure-lover and the ascetic will move 

-A. Science of Happiness 9 

toward the same summit of the mountain, though 
following different paths. 

The long distance that separates us from the 
end is toilsome to traverse. Many travellers 
before arriving endure great sufferings. The 
majority die on the way. The few who attain the 
goal of their efforts find themselves bruised, ill, 
or mortally wounded. The victory, once realised, 
appears illusive. They perceive tardily that 
they have wasted their lives in trying to seize a 
butterfly which cannot be caught. Instead of 
the anticipated happiness, an unutterable melan- 
choly takes possession of their souls. Facing 
the irreparable, they succumb, discouraged, often 
infinitely miserable. 

Fewer still are those who profited by a sudden 
light illumining their path. They took advantage 
of it to change their direction. Who knows? 
Perhaps they only changed their Calvary. 

The dirges- of unhappiness which we hear are 
very sad, but sadder still are those that pass 

11. Despair even inspires a species of terror. 
Beware of the writers who would dare to maintain 
its inanity, or oppose to its sneers a moderate 
trust in life. 

A refined thinker, such as Paul Stapfer, will not 

10 TKe Science of Happiness 

hesitate to compare them with "fat hogs that 
grunt contentedly over being well fed and warm 
in their sty." 

"To admit and to cry out our woes'* said Rich- 
ard Jefferies, "is the duty of all beings endowed 
with reason, for in vain will the worst pessimist 
describe things in the darkest hues. All that he 
can say will still remain far inferior to the smallest 
particle of the reality." 

Schopenhauer considers all those who do not 
believe that life is the worst of frauds, narrow- 
minded and shallow Philistines. 

Dissatisfaction with life is, in its essence, aristo- 
cratic. It is somewhat like a garment made in 
the latest fashion, in harmony with the most 
refined taste of the most up-to-date leaders. 
Almost all of those who take seriously their char- 
acter of missionaries of the truth to men, do not 
cease to proclaim the law of desolation and of 
disenchantment. An aggravated melancholy in- 
vades our souls like an impetuous torrent sweep- 
ing away defenceless houses. Not only do we no 
longer dare to resist it, but we prevent opposition 
by covering with ridicule those who are striving 
to build embankments. "Yes," they say in 
their turn, "fate is often hard and unjust. Our 
sufferings are numerous and our pangs in living 

A Science of Happiness il 

burst forth at every moment of our existence. 
But precisely because we are living in the darkness, 
let us try to bring into this gloom a few rays of 
hope and joy." 

Wretchedly mocked and scorned, these men 
remain silent, making way for those who mourn 
and weep. 

III. So wails and lamentations echo around 
us. Everybody believes and calls himself miser- 
able. Does not this result from a simple mis- 
imderstanding? Are we not the victims of a 
mirage which is all the more dangerous because 
it constantly increases the number of those who are 
sacrificed? Should the sole end of progress be to 
augment our distress, while increasing our com- 
fort? There are numerous scientists who assert 
that the woe which burdens the human race will 
become more and more heavy and fatal. Shall 
we not say that the progress of human evolution 
displays itself in an inverse ratio to the advance of 
happiness? What is this inevitable law which 
would shut us within the tragical dilemma of 
being able to develop only to the detriment of 
our happiness? 

One phenomenon impresses us when we con- 
sider our fellow creatures. While advancing in 
life, they usually forget the present and live only 

12 THe Science of Happiness 

in the future. When the latter deceives their 
hopes, they recognise the fact that they have not 
Hved. Around us, before us, iDchind us, therefore, 
we behold only people who have fallen on the road, 
often duped, and almost always sorrowful and 

The moralists usually regard happiness with 
inconceivable scorn. It drags along behind 
ethical systems like an importunate shadow. Yet, 
without the intervention of Happiness, there is 
nothing stable in human institutions or in moral 
systems. When it is lacking, there is nothing 
real, nothing solid in the foundations of life. 
What is the advantage of overlooking its im- 
portance? Happiness, like the gods of ancient 
Olympus, always arrives in time to make its 
weight felt in the life of human beings. 

IV. The principal problem of our modem life 
consists in reconciling the old and the new faith. 
The bygone one taught us that life on earth is 
only a dung-heap out of which grows the 
invisible Paradise of our dreams; that of the 
present day believes that life has a purpose in 

We must be happy on earth, with the assurance 
of being still more so in the future life, say the 

-A. Science of Happiness 13 

We must be happy on earth, for future happiness 
is only a deceptive mirage, say the sceptics. 

But both should think, like Goethe, that the 
object of life is life itself. 

V. Adapting a quotation from Plato, the 
Middle Ages drove Happiness from the city. 
Ranged behind Kant, modem moralists banish 
from morality all thoughts of happiness. In the 
history of so many systems that have fallen into 
ruin, perhaps only the Stoics and the Cynics 
have spoken of its divinity humanely, with love 
for those whom it shuns and with joy for those 
who benefit by its miraculous touch. This has 
not prevented their doctrines from being thor- 
oughly moral. They knew, first of all, how to 
identify Happiness with Truth. 

The Stoics, it is true, had the courage to exalt 
Happiness. But their Happiness, in its essence, is 
sorrowful. It has a dismal severity. It is always 
mourning lost illusions. Their joy in life is only 
the serene thought of death. Yet they take 
leave of the living like guests rising from an 
endless banquet. 

Marcus Aurelius vainly teaches that we ought 
not to grieve. His soul exhales poison. The 
divine balance of the best of men is merely a 
myth. We meet with it only in Renan, who 

14 THe Science of Happiness 

transports the serenity of his own soul into those 
of his heroes. 

We might say of the joy of living and of the 
happiness of the Stoics what Walter Pater has said 
of the thoughts of Marcus Aurelius: that we ought 
to move only with solemn, muffled tread, as it be- 
seems us to walk in a house where lies a dead man. 

They do not weep ; they do not tear their hair ; 
they do not give themselves up to paroxysms of 
boundless grief. This is much. Only the victo- 
ries of recent life can illumine with rays of joy and 
true happiness the austere abode bequeathed to 
us by our ancestors. 

VI. Vainly is happiness driven from the cares 
of the mind. It returns invisible, through doors 
which are believed to be hermetically sealed. 
It takes its place triumphantly in spite of all 
prohibitions. The noblest of doctrines, Kant's 
categorical imperative, with its absolute moral 
necessity, conceived outside of and even in opposi- 
tion to every idea of Happiness, crumbles logically, 
when deprived of its support. When a voice 
commands, Schopenhauer has justly said, it 
proceeds from within or from without us. It is 
simply impossible that it should not have the 
tone of menace, or eli^e that of promise. The 
person, in listening to either, becomes interested. 

A Science of Happiness 15 

And the interest, in the main, is only the thought 
of Happiness. 

Why then do we not march openly under its 
banner? Why do we not bow before its ubiquity, 
embracing, as it does, even our dreams and the 
aspirations of the soul? Let us try to direct its 
power, to study its operation, to facilitate its 
beneficent evolution, to make its laws triumph. 
Let us, in short, try to render it a science. 

VI L Why should we scorn happiness, joy? 
According to Spinoza, joy is perfection. Morality 
based solely upon duty, has failed. We no 
longer believe in Kant, but we believe more and 
more in the only real thing which exists in us, 
that which, in spite of ourselves and even against 
our will, guides and leads us: the perception and 
even the appetite for Happiness. 

When this consciousness is perfected and en- 
nobled, Humanity, in its turn, will find itself 
ennobled and perfected. 

All the conflicts of bygone centuries waged 
around the moral ideal have for their purpose the 
crushing or the triumph of the ego, the renuncia- 
tion of human personality or its free development. 
Self, trampled down and destroyed, became the 
synonym of virtue. On its ruins were expected 
to grow the divine qualities of man, as if a luxuriant 

i6 THe Science of Happiness 

blossoming could come forth on bare rocks. 
The reaction, as usual, wandered into excess. 
Despairing of saving mankind in the mass, it 
confined itself to causing the triumph of a few 
exceptional beings. The worship of the strong 
man, the demi-god, lauded by the Renaissance, 
and taken up by egotists of every degree, imposes 
a renunciation of the wrong kind. Asceticism 
immolated the individual in behalf of the invisible 
being; egotism sacrifices the community for the 
benefit of a few stronger and, especially, more 
rapacious beings. The first disarmed us by its 
disinterestedness: the second shocks us by the 
unrestraint of its appetites. 

Calmness will be restored to our inflamed as- 
pirations only when we admit happiness for all 
in the same degree. 

VIII. The right to life, the right to wages, the 
right of the aged and the infirm to the aid of the 
Government, and so many of the other victories 
of modern life, will end by having their supreme 
achievement in the right to Happiness. 

Est Deus in nobis. God is in us all. The 
human soul, inspired by religion or by science; 
man, son of God, or man, source of the intelligence, 
will end by bowing before this primordial principle 
of the human personality. Life will divest itself 

A Science of Happiness 17 

of uniformity by dissolving itself according to the 
innumerable varieties of souls. 

There is no higher sovereignty than self -mastery, 
said da Vinci. Only, what the peerless Leonardo 
claimed for himself must be admitted in favour of 
all, including the humble and the dispossessed. Let 
us aid them to regain their dominion by rendering 
life sweet and friendly. They must be rulers in 
the realm of their ego, for they are all men. 

Why philosophise beside the mark? Let us 
question human nature. Relieved from all re- 
straint, it will answer us with brutal frankness: 
Happiness is my organic need. I require it as I 
do food or air. We eat poorly, we breathe badly, 
and yet we live. But, to make the human ego 
unfold and flower, let it be developed in Happiness. 

People who are nobly happy constitute the 
power, the beauty, and the foundation of the 
nation. All who seek and obtain Happiness 
contribute to the prosperity and to the moral 
development of the community. They form the 
flower and the hope of their native land. 

The perception of Happiness is immutable. It is 
the part of the wise man to give to the invincible 
desire a lofty and divine meaning. 

IX. Our conceptions, influenced by past as- 
ceticism, by false piety, and by ignorance of the 

l8 THe Science of Happiness 

divine laws, prevent us from accepting the right 
to Happiness. They even cause us to reject this 
new duty which modern Hf e imposes : the duty of 
being happy. We ought to be happy, as we ought 
to love our own city, to be devoted to its interests, 
and to work for the benefit of the community. 

The happiness of our native country and of our 
fellow creatures is dear to us. So much the better. 
Let us begin by caring for our personal happiness. 
As Ellen Key has justly said, it is impossible to 
attend to the feeding of oiu* neighbours until we 
have satisfied our own hunger and thirst. A per- 
son suffering from typhoid fever finds it difficult 
to nurse his friend. A reformer who, indifferent 
to his own happiness, expresses the wish to obtain 
it for others, resembles a blind man who would fain 
guide those who can see. A little patience, and we 
shall witness, in the city of the future, how the 
most recent duty, that of being happy, will take 
its revenge and triumphantly occupy the place 
of its annihilated rivals. For Happiness, like 
tears and laughter, is communicable. Learn 
to be happy, or still better, be happy, and every 
one around you will be happier and better. 

X. The recommendations of the aesthetes to 
live and to die in beauty should have for a corollary 
to live and to die in Happiness. 

A. Science of Happiness 19 

After having fully exhausted our ego, after hav- 
ing realised its tastes and its aspirations, we shall 
lie down in the evening of our life with a sense of 
serenity and satisfaction akin to that the labourer 
experiences who falls asleep after the day's work 
given for the benefit of his land. 

XI. Life is not only worth the trouble of 
being lived; it imposes, besides, the duty of living 
our own life. Whoever has not been happy has 
failed in his duties. Perhaps he has passed through 
life in a dream, but he has no more lived than a 
lunatic lives when he unconsciously runs over the 
roofs of houses. 

Those who are not conscious of their Happiness, 
those who live outside of its earnest appeals and 
its genuine needs, recall the soldiers in Detaille's 
great picture, Le Reve. They have fought in a 
dream, suffered and enjoyed in their slumbering 
imagination, without profit — to themselves or to 
their native land. 

Modern thought openly proclaims or indirectly 
betrays the cares and the duties of individual 
Happiness. John Ruskin rightly asserts that the 
will of God is that we should live through Happi- 
ness for the benefit of the lives of our brothers, 
and not by their poverty and their death. Men 
mutually help one another by their joys, but not 

20 TKe Science of Happiness 

by their sorrows. John Lubbock makes joy an 
elementary duty of the modern men. He tells 
us that we ought to be as joyous as possible, 
because to be happy ourselves is an excellent 
method of aiding the happiness of others. The 
pessimists, who grieve over the sadness and the 
disappointments of life, or the optimists, who 
exalt its beauties, bow with the same rever- 
ence before the god Happiness. The re- 
bellion of haughty intellects such as Nietzsche, 
Shelley, Carlyle, or so many others, and their 
fierce egotism, are merely the result of their ignor- 
ance that happiness is a possibility for all. Be- 
lieving it unattainable by the mass, they claim 
it for the demi-gods or super -men. But true 
happiness is so much the greater and deeper in the 
proportion that it embraces and unites in a frater- 
nal chain more men, more countries, more worlds. 

As joy does not mean simple enjoyment, Happi- 
ness must not be confounded with anti-social 
egotism or the satisfaction of low instincts. It 
will be the part of the Science of Happiness to 
point out the foundations of Happiness, at once 
thoroughly noble and infinitely lasting, foundations 
which are accessible to the whole human race. 

XH. We do not allow ourselves to be intoxi- 
cated by the religion of self-sacrifice, of altruism 

^ Science of Happiness 2i 

toward all and for all, and especially by that of 
the future existence. They pass by the side of 
life. Their worship has never been anything but 
a worship of words. Impracticable, and not 
practised, they have falsified the divine meaning 
of our ego. Now, the law we have had should 
never be a chain. We are quits with it, according 
to the counsels of a moralist, when we have 
wrapped it carefully in a purple shroud, in which 
the dead gods sleep. 

XIII. Nature, we are told, knows only the 
species. She neglects and dooms the individual. 
Nature is calumniated. Science is libelled in the 
same way. Per eat mundus, fiant pilulce, shout 
certain healers. Long live the pills, perish the 
patients! What would the pills do without the 
patients, what would the species do without 
the individual? Can an edifice be preserved by 
removing the stones of which it is composed? 

Does nature aim only at preserving the species? 
What do we know about it? We have small 
acquaintance with her metaphysical intentions. 
Yet those which she took care to reveal to us show 
that, if she pays little attention to the individual, 
she takes no greater account of the species. The 
history of the fauna and of the flora is only one 
vast cemetery, where are found millions of dead 

22 TKe Science of Happiness 

species. Some among these defunct varieties 
were admirably organised; perhaps they might 
even have disputed man's place, like that anthro- 
poid, the Dryopithecus, who seemed predestined 
to a brilliant future. 

In reality, nature has no consideration for 
either individual or species. So we should not 
permit ourselves to be led into error by her vague 
plans, but occupy ourselves instead with the real 
happiness of man. 

XIV. Egoisms vary, as our souls differ. There 
are sublime ones, which furnish the weapons for 
the noble conflicts of life and spread the contagion 
of energy, of hope, of joy. We should do wrong 
to speak ill of "love of self," as we should err in 
slandering nature because, by the side of heavenly 
landscapes, it possesses marshy waters. 

What are the abnegation of the saints, the dis- 
interestedness of hardened altruists, except varia- 
tions of the numberless forms of egoism, which 
assumes every shape, including that of personal 
sacrifice. The acquirer of wealth who gives to 
his children a portion of his treasures ; the mother 
who loves life, yet risks her own at the bedside of 
her child attacked by typhoid fever ; the lover who 
sacrifices himself for the lady of his heart, are 
only yielding to the impulses of their lofty egoism. 

A Science of Happiness 23 

We defer the realisation of our egoism for a 
future payment, or we coin it at once. We 
consent to be rewarded in heaven, or we seek 
satisfactions here below. It procures divine 
pleasures for the god in man; it furnishes animal 
joys to the beast in man. It enthrones itself in 
the depths of our souls and rules there according 
to their essence. 

The Greeks, in their beHefs, which bear the 
imprint of sincerity, saw in their gods thoroughly 
selfish beings. The gods of Olympus acted solely 
under the impetus of their personal interests. Our 
Phariseeism attributes to men quaHties which the 
ancients denied to the gods themselves. 

After all, if the genius of nature, listening to the 
stupid desires of certain philosophers, had uprooted 
from our souls the love of self, mankind would 
have ceased to live. In losing the essential prin- 
ciple of the conservation of the species, man would 
have lost, at the same time, the necessity of con- 
tinuing his existence. Never would he have 
consented to drag it on for the sake of others. 

By classing self-love (egotism) with the most 
degraded tendencies of our hearts, we have suc- 
ceeded in defaming Happiness, which has become 
almost a shameful desire of our ego, instead of 
being its glory and its crown. Have not certain 

24 TKe Science of Happiness 

moralists gone so far as to proscribe the word 

XV. There is something singular in the fact 
that among so many sciences of which mankind 
is proud, not one of them should be consecrated to 
Happiness. Is it possible? Such a science needed 
first to be planted, so that later its fruits could be 
examined. It should have been given the op- 
portunity to interest the mass of humanity. All 
the nations of the earth should have been able to 
communicate in its universal^ admitted laws. 
Profiting by the observations and lessons that 
came from the four quarters of the globe, it would 
have been able, in its turn, to embellish the lives 
of human beings of whatever origin, colour, or 

Religions in the name of heaven, philosophers 
in the name of human fraternity, have always 
preached the necessity for peace. Yet wars have 
not ceased to stain the earth with blood. For a 
century, we have been taught that peace is neces- 
sary to our happiness, and the horror of war in- 
vades our souls and is implanted in our minds. 

Why should we reproach men for seeking 
unrealisable goals? Is not progress a continual 

' According to Carlyle, the' word happiness ought to give place 
to a higher condition, blessedness. 

A Science of Happiness 25 

march toward the star? Sainte-Beuve uttered 
a profound thought: ''In aiming at impossible 
things, we finally obtain possible ones, which 
otherwise we should never have reached." 

So long live the Science of Happiness, based upon 
the possibiHty of Happiness for all, through all! 

We marvel when we think of the wealth of 
elements which the Science of Happiness will 
meet upon its way. All its sisters, in union, are 
really working for its triumph. Hygiene or 
medicine, philosophy or morality, technical or 
poHtical sciences, the biography of the illustrious 
dead, all are keeping incalculable treasures for 
the youngest bom. Amid these fields of precious 
stones, she will have only to point out and to 
gather whatever objects she may choose. 



I . When we begin to reflect upon the importance 
of some of the storms of life that we have weathered 
we are amazed to discover their insignificance. 
The most intense moral sufferings pale singularly 
in the light of reflection, and assume a new form. 
We no longer even understand past sensations 
and terrors. The same idea appHes to the great 
dramas of our existence. Under their immediate 
domination, our minds are bewildered. We are 
not able to think, and we do not even wish to 
survive them. Their wounds appear incurable, 
and our life appears to be blighted for ever. 

Let us examine ourselves a few days after the 

cruel ordeal. Released from the brutal influence 

of the moment, our mind is beginning to investigate 

the situation. Looking within ourselves, we are 

astonished to see how greatly our feelings have 

changed. What has become of the irreparable 

misfortune? What has become of the eternal 


Happiness Is "witKin Us 27 

suffering? We are seized with amazement. Could 
grief and misfortune amuse themselves at our 
expense? Would reality foil them? 

Let us permit another interval of time to elapse , 
and then begin again the task of comparing our 
feelings. Another surprise awaits us. Our sorrows, 
our acute emotions of despair have suffered a 
further diminution. Their intensity having dis- 
appeared, their faded forms are no longer recognis- 
able. Something vague has replaced our grief. A 
day comes when we smile indulgently at past mis- 
fortunes. We no longer find in them anything 
except a subject of study of the changing conditions 
of our soul. ' 

This transformation often occurs suddenly 
under the influence of a person dear to our hearts, 
whose influence swiftly drives away the clouds 
that darken the real aspect of things. For conso- 
lations have no other object. When they emanate 
from a gifted mind, they aim simply to snatch the 
mask from the incidents which are governing us. 
If they do not always attain their goal, it is be- 
cause intelligent comprehension of the souls of 
others is so rare. 

^ A mother's grief for her lost child doubtless threatens to last 
a lifetime. But we are considering only the causes of ordinary 
unhappiness, the source of daily sorrows, and not exceptional 
forms. Yet even the most cruel sufferings are finally softened. 

28 THe Science of Happiness 

II. Do not the various degrees of our unhappi- 
ness, its constant transformation in our minds, 
the dependence of its intensity and its extent upon 
the sensibility of the individual, all prove that the 
source of our sufferings is found within ourselves? 
The external world makes our sensibility vibrate, 
and it responds like a piano to the touch of the 
performer. But the latter will vainly possess 
amazing power ; he can produce no sounds without 
the aid of the instrument. A still better analogy 
of our relation to misfortune is that of an artist 
standing before the notes of a score. The sweet 
or mournful tones of our voices follow the external 
signs, but the unhappiness, like the sounds, is 
within ourselves. 

From this condition of affairs one comforting 
truth is apparent. Happiness and misery being 
in the majority of cases only the fruits of our own 
sensibiHty, and the latter forming, in its turn, 
only a portion of our minds, we become, by that 
very fact, the authors of our happiness and our 

Circumstances occurring outside of ourselves 
are difficult to conquer, but the formation of our 
ego, its mode of existence and of thought are 
within our power. Since we find it an impossi- 
biUty to change the factors without, let us alter 

Happiness Is witKin Us 29 

those within. Being unable to aspire to the mas- 
tery of things and of men, let us try to govern and 
direct our desires. It is difficult for us to have 
servants, palaces, and millions; it is easier to 
drive this longing from our hearts. When, serious 
and thoughtful, the mind comes to dwell upon 
the things it formerly so ardently desired, it will 
reveal to us, with a smile, their emptiness. So 
long as people believed in the devil, he showed 
himself to men. The abandonment of the belief 
in his omnipotence was sufficient to make him 
cease to disturb even their dreams. 

III. A calm estimate of our desires often re- 
sults in their disappearance. There comes a 
period even when the eager appetites for inaccessi- 
ble things are almost entirely appeased. And 
as reflection eliminates the fear of evil spirits, 
the cause of unhappiness to superstitious people, 
deliberate thought, coming to our aid, can always 
affect and often dispels our superstitions of lux- 
ury, of wealth, of false ambition, and of so many 
other torments that influence our life. 

The happiness thus gained becomes an acquisi- 
tion equalling all the blessings of this world. We 
no longer believe solely in visible things. But the 
existence of the famous dead, of men honest and 
wise in their sincere confession, brings us countless 

30 THe Science of Happiness 

proofs that happiness is in direct dependence upon 
our ego. "We seek," cries an ancient moralist, 
"hiding-places, pastoral grottoes, rustic huts, 
mountains, sea beaches, for what purpose? — since 
thou art permitted to retire within thyself." 

The Stoics justly said that the happy man is 
he whom chance could neither elevate nor humble. 
Whoever succeeds in subordinating his happiness 
to the state of his mind, creates for himself an 
inviolable refuge, an impregnable fortress, a just, 
kind, and trustworthy master. 

IV. In reflecting upon the troubles and the 
pleasures of life, we easily perceive that both are 
merely the children of our brain. That is what 
gives them the final impress and classifies them 
in our intelligence. Our opinion of things, the 
principal source of our happiness, is only the pro- 
duct of our mentality, the fruit, in its turn, of 
our education. There is a sort of continuous 
chain, all of whose links — education, mentality, 
opinions — are thus dependent upon ourselves. 

Glory excites, animates, sustains, and ruins so 
many human lives! Yet so many others are left 
untouched! The desire for wealth, which poisons 
the existence of the modem man, acts only upon 
certain individuals. Power, which attracts and 
fascinates some persons, does not appeal to the 

Happiness Is witHin Us 31 

imagination of others. In certain countries, 
like France and the United States, there is even a 
class of politicians from which are recruited the 
aspirants to the government. It is always the 
same little nucleus which furnishes the masters; 
the other members of society, often even the best 
ones, turn aside with disgust from what they term 
the wretched political caldron. There are people 
who would give half their lives for a rare decoration 
or a title of nobility. There are others who un- 
dergo all sorts of humiliations in order to be able 
to frequent what they call good society, composed 
for the most part of idle and intellectually narrow 
people. The happiness of some consists in sitting 
at the table of the C^sars, others find it in com- 
panionship with the kings of the mind. Some 
dream of the heights, mounted upon which they 
will be seen by the greatest number of their 
contemporaries; others of modest refuges and an 
ideal forgetfulness. 

Let us follow the endless scale of our dreams of 
happiness, and we shall see their limitless varia- 

V. The things around us remain immutable 
in their essence. It is man who torments himself 
and suffers by coveting them. If the objects of 
our ardent desires had a soul, they would fill the 

32 THe Science of Happiness 

world with sarcastic laughter. Perhaps that 
might save the world, for it would understand 

When we think that our entire life depends upon 
certain words which, by dint of repetition, become 
our opinions, we are justly astonished at our neg- 
ligence concerning them. 

Most persons spend more time upon the arrange- 
ment of their hair, than they do in forming or 
correcting the opinions on which their happiness 

We are vexed with people who give us bad advice 
concerning the purchase of furniture. We do 
not forgive a man who has sold us a lame horse. 
We inquire diligently concerning the quality of 
the wines we want to buy. We blush at having 
been deceived by an unscrupulous banker. Yet 
we accept and retain without control false opin- 
ions concerning many things. 

We refuse adulterated wines and ill-baked 
bread; we are on our guard when we are eating 
in a doubtful place; but we maintain a constant 
intercourse with people whose ideas we know 
to be false and their souls depraved. Their 
action is far more dangerous, for they sow around 
them misfortune and corruption. 

The human race will realise one of its noblest 

Happiness Is -witKin Us 33 

reforms when it understands that it is just as 
important, when seeking happiness, not to live on 
false opinions as it is not to eat adulterated 

VI. The substance of things escapes us. It 
has, moreover, no share in our happiness. It is 
in vain that the objects of our longings remain the 
same, our attitude with regard to them does not. 
Wealth, ambition, power, fame, the distinctions 
or the charms of polished society retain their 
virtues, and never change. The ribbon of the 
Legion of Honour retains its crimson hue and that 
of the academic palms keeps the violet shade. 
Yet the ardent longings of some are offset by the 
contempt of others. Nay, more; how is it that 
we should so consumingly desire the very ribbon 
to which, a few years later, we shall be entirely 

The same object which inspires some with over- 
whelming thrills of yearning makes many others 
smile ! Where we see a source of happiness, others 
behold only a source of ridicule. While our 
education tends only toward concrete goals, a 
shallow comprehension of life and the conquest 
of wealth, there are superior minds which detach 
themselves from these things and declare our 
education and our life, as the majority of men 

3 - 

34 TKe Science of Happiness 

understand it, defective from the standpoint of 

The Faubourg Saint- Germain, fixed in a con- 
ventional mould, has a fully established physiog- 
nomy. Yet its vices and its charms appeal 
differently to the taste of men. Some of our writ- 
ers, to form a portion of it, have sacrificed their 
independence and their originality, while many 
others would not give up a single line of their 
works to enter its precincts. 

How profound is this thought of Emerson: 
Man is a monarch, who abdicates when he goes 
into the world ! 

"The sole value of life," Renan tells us, "is 
through devotion to truth and goodness. This 
principle, though fatal to worldly success, never- 
theless is fruitful of happiness ! The purpose of a 
noble life should be an ideal and disinterested 

Augustin Thierry, blind and ill, is enraptured 
by the delights obtained through his devotion to 
science, which yields more than fortune and all 
material pleasures. 

In his touching exhortation to Brother Leo, 
Saint Francis of Assisi tells us that even if our 
brother throws us on the ground, rolls us in the 
snow, makes us feel, while beating us, every knot 

Happiness Is witKin Us 35 

in his cudgel, we shall find perfect joy therein, 
if we bear these things with cheerfulness for the 
love of the Saviour. 

What a charming exclamation was that of 
Saint Theresa in speaking of the demons: "Un- 
happy creatures, they do not love!" Love of 
truth or of science, love of the Saviour, as well as 
love of our neighbour, are individual sources of 
happiness. These sources are found within our- 
selves, and the objects or the entities outside 
count as nothing. 

VII. Let us be more explicit. The desire for 
wealth appears to be general. The omnipotent 
million exercises a universal influence. We are 
told that it crushes the firmest characters, and 
reduces to fragments the most stable principles 
of societies and of individuals. Yet the best men 
remain insensible to its appeals and its smiles. 
Its attractions and charms also dwell, not in it- 
self, but in us. It is we who adorn, we who be- 
stow upon it invincible powers and numberless 
allurements. We need only examine it from a 
certain point of view, and its intoxicating beauties 
will vanish forever. 

VIII . One of the teachers of my childhood, who 
excelled in relating parables, said to me one day: 

** There is a country which no one enters except 

36 TKe Science of Happiness 

myself. When once there, I find a resplendent 
kingdom, full of mysterious charms. I am re- 
ceived as a respected and beloved master. The 
inhabitants kneel before me. Sometimes sorrow- 
ful because they have succumbed to invincible 
temptations ; sometimes joyous because they have 
resisted the snares of life, they confide to me their 
griefs and their joys. I listen with interest, some- 
times pitying, always delighted. Then, in taking 
leave of them, I say: ' Beings of my being, con- 
tinue to think of him who lives in you, as you 
live in him.' And the moments spent in this 
fascinating kingdom, amid fraternal thoughts and 
souls, are the sweetest of my existence. Why 
must I go there so rarely? A time will come, 
however, when every one will have the faculty of 
spending a large portion of his life in this happy 
country; for access to it will become more and 
more easy." 

Long after, I understood the meaning of these 

IX. The more we reflect, the more we perceive 
that Happiness dwells within us. Through a 
regrettable lack of comprehension, we wear out 
our lives in seeking it elsewhere. When, fatigued 
and bewildered, we return within ourselves, we 
find the divine flame dull or extinguished. 

Happiness Is i^vitKin Us 37 

Our sufferings, our despondency, our woes, are 
almost invariably only the products of our thoughts. 
What is more terrifying to the minds of the ma- 
jority of men than the dread of inevitable death? 
Yet it seems sweet and consoling to all who have 
thought of it differently. The death inflicted upon 
the Christian martyrs in the Roman arenas 
freezes us with terror. A thrill of horror makes 
us tremble at the idea of beings mutilated while 
alive. And yet it is said that Saint Perpetua, 
torn by a bull, before dying, bound up and ar- 
ranged her hair because she did not wish to seem 
to mourn in the midst of glory and joy. 

X. We hold a position toward life corresponding 
to that of the tourists toward the tea-houses into 
which people take their own provisions. Every- 
thing that constitutes our pleasures or our sorrows 
is carried within and drawn from our own selves. 
External circumstances influence man, but man 
acts upon circumstances. He often creates and 
almost always modifies them. Circumstances 
possess the value which we are able and under- 
stand how to give them. Coarse souls remain 
under the domination of circumstances as primi- 
tive ones do imder the rule of the elements of 
nature. By perfecting himself, man obtains 
more and more mastery over events. 

38 THe Science of Happiness 

Everything that surrounds us becomes angel or 
fiend according to the condition of our hearts, 
rightly asserts the author of Wisdom and Destiny. 
Joan of Arc hears the saints and Macbeth the 
witches, and nothing befalls us which is not of the 
same nature as ourselves. 

The important thing is to become better ac- 
quainted with our souls, an acquaintance which 
later may aid in their development. There can 
be no happiness greater than that of bringing our 
life and our thoughts into harmony. When we 
lead an existence in conformity with our aptitudes, 
with the mysterious inclinations of conscience, 
we feel the most intense gratification that is 
attainable by the human race. 

XI. The ideal sense of delight consists in 
spending wittingly our inward treasiire. Daily 
life vainly bends us to its requirements. Behind 
it, independent of it, remains a vast and inaccessi- 
ble empire : it is that of our inner life. There we 
can live as sovereigns, happy and proud amid our 
royal thoughts. 

The delights of the inner life are completed by 
those of action. The return within ourselves 
which does not degenerate into morbid reverie, 
develops our energy. The two worlds of thought 
and of action thus gain, in their contact, both 

Happiness Is "witKin Us 39 

intensity and purity. As sleep, by strengthening 
the organism, enables it to meet the labour of the 
day, salutary reflection, the pilgrimage into the 
depths of our ego, facilitates our domination of 
the external world and its utiHsation for lofty 

Examples abound. Let us choose the most 
conclusive. After having spent his nights in writ- 
ing the book. On the Subject of Himself, Marcus 
Aurelius, ever handsome and young, during the 
day directs, in the most admirable manner, one 
of the most profitless expeditions. In this cruel 
campaign against the Quadi and the Marcomanni, 
worn by dullness and fatigue on the banks of the 
Gran or the Danube, at Carnuntum or Vienna, the 
best of men draws from the exquisite intimacy 
of his own ego the strength for the military pro- 
fession he found so distasteful. 

XII. The objects so ardently desired by all 
somewhat resem.ble the gods created by man, for 
they owe to man their best qualities. It is man 
who has endowed the gods with all the attractions 
which he holds dear. Their magnanimity, their 
omniscience, their compassion for human misery, 
their supernatural goodness or wickedness, what 
are all these quaHties if not the gifts generously 
bestowed by man on mysterious beings? After 

40 THe Science of Happiness 

having created them, he has not ceased to adorn, 
to fear, and to love them. Take away these 
borrowed quaHties and what will be left? Let us 
do the same with respect to the things that we 
covet. What will remain to fame, to dignities, 
to all the baubles which we so fervently desire? 
Nothing, or almost nothing. 

XIII. In a time of distress, astronomers them- 
selves turn toward heaven, to seek there the divine 
power which is capable of lessening their sufferings 
and of sharing their troubles here below. Yet 
they are the first to know that they have as much 
chance of finding it beside or below, as above them. 
Power of words! Thine essence is eternal. In 
vain do we break so many idols, thine will live as 
long as mankind. 

XIV. From our early youth, a benevolent 
fairy remains at our side, offering to accompany 
us through the vicissitudes of life, and shields us 
with her ever- watchful protection. This is no 
fairy of legends. She exists and develops in her 
young and glowing beauty. Invisible, she allows 
us a glimpse of her sympathetic virtues and of her 
infinite charms. She embodies all the aspirations 
of our lives. In her expressive personality are hid- 
den all the sources of our desires, our happiness 
or our woe. Riches, fame, distinctions, health, 

Happiness Is ^witHin Us 41 

she holds and offers to all who come to her and 
will receive her guidance. 

Divine fairy that does not cease to accompany 
mankind from its humblest origins, indefatigable 
in thy generosity, inexhaustible in thy goodness, 
imposing in thine omnipotence, thy name is will. 

Why do we write of the gods, asks the philo- 
sopher, except to win love for the divine nature 
within them, and to show that this divine nature 
lives also, and will live eternally, in the heart of 
the human race? Why glorify the will, except to 
impress vividly its untiring and inexhaustible 
action? It is the beloved sovereign who, unlike 
other monarchs, bows to the desires of all who 
love, revere, and are prepared to follow. It pro- 
mises much and performs still more. Devote 
yourself to its cult sincerely and faithfully, and it 
will place under your rule the various causes on 
which your happiness depends. 

A time will come when all the purposes of peda- 
gogy will tend toward this dominant goal: the 
liberation and development of the will, and this 
will be the prelude of the reign of Happiness. 

XV. Let us suppose that some day we are 
told : A god is within you, a god who asks nothing 
better than to place himself at your service. He 
is awaiting your summons with touching patience. 

42 XKe Science of Happiness 

Nothing discourages him. His complaisance is 
equalled only by his discretion. Vainly, for 
years, you have ignored him. Unheeded, con- 
cealed in a corner of your consciousness, he waits 
your pleasure. But as soon as you turn to him, 
he will come, calm and serene, at your summons. 
His worship is neither sanguinary nor difficult. 
All that you do for him inevitably profits only 
yourself. In his boundless generosity he keeps 
nothing for himself, and will reward you fivefold 
for whatever you wish to do in his favour. 

Why, when in quest of a certain support and 
powerful protectors, do we forget the ideal and 
divine friend who offers us everything and asks 

XVI. In all ages, chosen minds have bowed 
before the benefits of the will. Kant goes so far 
as to say that the will has relations with the nou- 
mena. The will, he teaches us, possesses even a 
curative property Man can do much by the sole 
energy of his will. Through its instrumentality he 
can even modify his physical condition, save him- 
self from hypochondria, and conquer spasmodic 
conditions. According to Kant, the will is the 
first condition of health. 

With the powers of suggestion triumphing, the 
power of the will triumphs. Modern science has 

Happiness Is -witKin Us 43 

instituted almost a worship of suggestion. Util- 
ised as a beneficent force, subordinated to the 
reasoning and rational will, suggestion might 
radically transform and embellish our life. 

The ancients knew the power of suggestion, 
but to modern times belongs the distinction of 
having procured for us a lever by which to utilise 
it at our pleasure. 

Faith removes mountains, says a proverb as 
old as the world. The science of hypnotism and 
of suggestion only serves as an illustration. Car- 
penter quotes the case of a man who, though very 
weak in muscles, one day raised a heavy weight 
because he believed it trivial. Faith in miracles 
produce miracles. The old sally of Pomponatius 
is still true: "You can calmly put in the place 
of the bones of a saint those of any other skeleton. 
The cure would follow if the patient were ignor- 
ant of the change. " And, in fact, the water of 
the Loire or of the Seine is often as beneficial in 
its effects as that of Lourdes, provided that the 
invalid is not aware of its origin. 

Under the influence of concentrated attention, 
redness or pallor appear on the face, swellings of 
the limbs and hemorrhages take place, the heart 
beats more quickly or more slowly, pains are felt 
in the places indicated. 

44 XKe Science of Happiness 

Goethe had already said: "Man can com- 
mand nature to eHminate from his body all the 
foreign elements which cause him suffering and 

O sweet and intoxicating power of words! 
The remembrance of the heavenly joy which the 
martyrs of every age have felt is sufficient to 
enable us to understand that the human race will 
always bow beneath the yoke of the word that has 
become faith. Read in Rufinus or Lucian the 
tortures inflicted in Lyons in the year 177 upon 
numberless saints. They believed that a divine 
stream flowed from the side of Jesus to reanimate 
and refresh them. And they felt revived and 
refreshed. The fragile Lyonnese maid-servant, 
Blandine, exasperated the gangs of executioners 
by constantly asking for more tortures, more 
suffering. They exhausted all the known tor- 
ments. Her thirst for martyrdom still besought 
more. Suspended from a post, her body was 
exposed for several days to the bites of wild beasts. 
Placed in a red-hot chair, her flesh was burned in 
many places. Then, enclosed in a net, she was 
flung to a bull. The animal, at the sight of this 
burned and burning body, hurled it furiously into 
the air, and let it fall back again to the ground. 
Yet the gentle Blandine' s face did not cease to 

Happiness Is -witKin Us 45 

express the ineffable joy of the martyr. Suffering 
became to her the celestial joy of salvation. 

Deacon Sanctus of Vienna beheld with rapture 
his body converted into a bleeding, deformed mass. 
His most sensitive parts were burned with copper 
heated to a white heat. Yet Sanctus did not 
cease to repeat, in a peaceful voice, the divine 

They believed that they were at the festival 
of their glory, and all were glorious. 

XVII. What radiant horizons are opened to 
us by this material action of the mind upon the 
body. Are not our whole lives, all our acts, our 
happiness, and our troubles, really the results of 
an environing suggestion? What is pedagogy, 
except such an action exerted upon childhood? 
We live under the empire of political, religious, 
and social institutions, under the influence of 
our neighbours and our friends, under that of our 
passions and our feelings. 

Psychotherapy, the new medical method, even 
teaches us that certain diseases vanish, as if by 
enchantment, in consequence of suggestions con- 
tinually repeated. Let us modify them, let us 
lessen our susceptibility to those that poison our 
lives, and render ourselves more sensitive in re- 
spect to beneficial suggestions. In this way we 

46 TTKe Science of Happiness 

shall change even our mode of living and of feeling. 
The transformation of the feelings affecting our 
souls might render the hypochondriac the most 
sociable of men. 

Alchemists dream of the transmutation of metals. 
With tireless zeal, they sought for means of chang- 
ing iron and copper into gold, or of drawing from 
gold the elixir of long life. How much more 
important seems the ''transmutation" of our 
feelings and our sensations! After all, this is 
possible. By devoting himself to it, man will 
arrive at controlling external incidents. They 
will become to him precisely what his soul desires 
that they should be. The important thing in the 
events that befall us is their influence upon our 
minds. By transforming facts at the dictates of 
our soul, by allowing them to act only within the 
jurisdiction of our "ego," we shall dominate life. 

This change is not always easy. Nothing is 
more true than this statement. If it were other- 
wise, pedagogy would become the most exact of 
all the sciences, and the Science of Happiness 
would be full of infallible dogmas. We should 
make happy people, as we make officers of the 
academy. But Happiness, ofTering itself without 
effort, would lose its charms. 

To operate in an efficient manner, suggestion 

Happiness Is -witHin Us 47 

requires a method, a discipline of the mind. The 
time is not far off when it will be understood that, 
since its first steps commence with pedagogy, it 
is the part of the latter to mark out the first path. 
Watching over the happiness of those entrusted 
to its care, it will endeavour to impress the young 
souls with essential suggestions concerning the 
value of wealth, of ambition, of fame, or of 
happiness itself. 

The formation of the moral personality, we are 
told, is the purpose of pedagogy. The formation 
of the happy personality will doubtless be the 
aim of the pedagogy of the future. 

Let us add, for the consolation of the moralists, 
that the Science of Happiness will be essentially 



I. What was termed, toward 1830, the disease 
of the age is, in truth, the disease of all the ages. 
Like the bigot who dreams of Paradise and labours 
only for the damnation of his soul, mankind 
craves solely happiness and creates along its path 
nothing but misery. 

The human mind is often only a place of torture 
where all who enter are crucified. Religion, 
philosophy, and literature, sisters who are fre- 
quently at odds, affectionately clasp hands, when 
the object is to crush the joy and happiness of 
their faithful friends. The futile tears which 
religions have made men shed would form an 
ocean capable of drowning our contemporaries. 
Philosophy and literature second them to the best 
of their ability. All sow sadness. 

Then we harvest their fruits only to fill our hearts 

with bitterness. Sons of ancestors with withered 

souls, we inherit their evil inclinations, and 


Optimism and Pessimism 49 

add to these the sorrowful products of our now 

II. The condition of mind which the Germans 
expressively define by the word Katzenjammer 
has become the normal state of the human race. 
We are in the situation of people on the morning 
after nights of debauchery and insomnia. Like 
Poland which was intoxicated when Augustus 
had been drinking, we are suffering from the ex- 
cesses of our forefathers. 

Let us consider with what eagerness the intel- 
lectual guides of mankind devote themselves to 
the task of barring the way by establishing all sorts 
of mental "no thoroughfares." One would say 
that they see only the darkest, the most dismal 
comers of the mind. After having diligently 
hunted them out, they take delight in imiprisoning 
us within. The despair and dissatisfaction with 
life assume such varied forms that there are some 
for every taste. Alluring and subtle ones for 
delicate souls; repugnant and depressing ones for 
coarser souls; melancholy ones for dreamy souls; 
those with a slight make-up for feminine souls; 
profound ones for virile souls — dull, disturbed, or 
limpid, they are coloured with every shade. As 
vice assumes different aspects, including that of 
virtue, the desolation of life often disguises itself 

50 TKe Science of Happiness 

under the charms of gaiety. And the scholarly 
person of our day, stifling under the dense smoke 
poured forth by the intellectual bonfire, finds 
himself infinitely wretched. 

III. Our minds are the legitimate or illegiti- 
mate children of those that have preceded them. 
Products of their predecessors, they preserve 
visible or mysterious traits of these forerunners. 
Cerebral labour begins with appropriation and 
not with creation. Pedagogy aims only at facili- 
tating intellectual digestion. The thoughts of 
our lives are often only the products of well or 
badly performed digestion. 

We are often ignorant of our ancestors, but 
they exist nevertheless. Our sensations, and 
sometimes our feelings, are, therefore, only the 
sensations and the feelings of our masters. 

IV. Here is a gay people, with a pleasant 
philosophy. It is regarded as a generous provider 
of remedies for the embittered moods from which 
its neighbours are suffering. We attribute to this 
people the most cheerful, the most harmonious 
conception of life. This people is the French 
nation. Yet we need only pause before its re- 
presentative minds to see that they are corroded 
by every evil, beginning with that of thought and 
ending with that of love. Whether it is Taine, 

Optimism and Pessimism 51 

Baudelaire, Maupassant, the younger Dumas, 
Renan, Zola, the Goncourts, Leconte de Lisle, 
Anatole France, or Sully- Prudhomme; Parisians, 
provincials, cosmopolitans; poets, thinkers, or 
philosophers, — all show us, behind their melo- 
dious phrases and conventional smile, a soul con- 
vulsed by profound contradictions. Their elders 
— Chateaubriand, Sainte-Beuve, or Lamartine — 
also give evidence that similar dramas were being 
enacted in their minds. 

Finally, what shall be said of Bossuet, of Racine, 
of Comeille, and of so many other famous authors? 
Yet these are the men who have formed our 
imderstanding and nourished the emotions of our 

From all the heights of French intellect escapes 
the dreariness of desolation. Almost always pre- 
sent, it is not always visible. 

Voltaire, the most well-poised, the most attached 
to life, states gravely somewhere: "Happiness is 
only a dream, and sorrow is real." And else- 
where he says: "FHes are born to be devoured 
by spiders, and men to be devoured by troubles." 
True, at this period, Voltaire had suffered from 
many acts of treachery. Again he tells us: 
''I do not know what the eternal life is, but I do 
know that it is a bad jest. ' ' According to Diderot, 

52 TKe Science of Happiness 

*' We exist only in the bosom of grief and tears. " — 
**We are the sport of uncertainty, of errors, of 
necessity, of illness, of wickedness, of passions, 
and we live among knaves and charlatans of every 

The moralists chime in with those who are dis- 
gusted with life. La Rochefoucauld, Charron, 
La Bruyere, Chamfort, and Vauvenargues, all utter 
the same heart-rending cry, "Life is not worth 
living."' The writers of other countries are 
distinguished, perhaps, by despondency that is 
less harmonious and more noisy. The German 
mind resembles most closely that of the Hindoos. 
This remark is derived from Taine. The banks of 
the Ganges and the banks of the Spree have a 
certain resemblance, or let us say with Jacquemont, 

"^ Charron's Sagesse, the source of inspiration of nearly all of 
our writers of aphorisms and maxims, is an incessant lamentation 
concerning the woes of life. The "beasts," he affirms, "have 
great reason to thank nature, that they have not so. much mind. 
The first proof of human wretchedness is that its entrance into the 
world is vile and shameful. There is shame in creating it, hon- 
our in its destruction. There is concealment, the lights are put 
out while creating it ; there is glory and display in destroying it — 
the lamps are lighted to see it die." "The two greatest 
men," we are told elsewhere, " Caesar and Alexander, each killed 
more than a million men, and did not leave one to succeed them. " 

What would Charron say, if he were living in our days? The 
condemnation of organised massacres, the glory of a Pasteur 
making that of Napoleon pale, would doubtless have spared him 
the mournful sentences whose essence taints his Sagesse. 

Optimism and Pessimism 53 

"The absurdity of Benares and the absurdity of 
Germany have an air of kinship." Sorrow is 
everywhere the same; it is only its grimaces 
which vary. 

V. The supreme expression of the melancholy 
which leaves its impress upon contemporary works, 
like the autumn twilight upon the sky, is incar- 
nated in this never-to-be-forgotten line of Leconte 
de Lisle: 

Maya! Maya! Torrent of changing chimeras! 

This sadness is mingled with a horror of the 
universal death. Like the flow of the tide, "it 
swells, mutters, rolls, and goes from beach to 
beach morning and evening." Pantheist and 
deist, sceptic and believer, lover and contemptuous 
scomer of life, poets and realists, optimists and 
pessimists, all seem profoundly saddened by the 
ever changing and ever uniform aspects of the 
dream which constantly shapes and reshapes itself. 
The flesh, tortured while living or dead and flung 
into the earth, the grass of oblivion which grows 
over all that we have loved, these are the monoto- 
nous and heart-rending sighs which nevertheless 
lull and do not cease to lull humanity. 

Even those who speak of the ceasing of life with 
love, desire thus to hide their fears of death, as 

54 THe Science of Happiness 

Baudelaire pretends to be enraptured in the pre- 
sence of the final decay, which causes him deadly 
shuddering. The cry of anguish of the author 
of Meditations (7th, ''Despair'') mournfully sums 
up the inmost sensations of all those wounded in 
the battle of Hfe. 

What crime have we committed, to deserve to be 

And when we reflect upon the genesis of this 
lamentation which, like the dominant melody in a 
Wagnerian opera, goes through the literature and 
the philosophy of these latter centuries, we dis- 
cover in the first place a baleful heritage be- 
queathed by the Christian religion, or rather by 
all the religions united. 

VI. Buddhism expresses a limitless pessimism. 
It begins by denying the creative principle and 
ends by condemning life. All that it accepts 
from the latter is its disappearance, its extinc- 
tion, Nirvana. Death becomes the blessed and 
ardently desired crown of existence. Our life is 
filled with sorrows, and these result from long- 
ing. Must longing then be debarred? Yet 
how can this be done, while abandoning exis- 
tence? Reflective minds need not wait for its 
final disappearance to enjoy the delights of nonent- 

optimism and Pessimism 55 

ity. We can, or rather we ought, to hasten the 
arrival of death by freeing ourselves from the trou- 
blesome demands of life. The ears should be 
stuffed, in order not to hear its commands, its 
desires, its aspirations. 

"The fivefold attachment to terrestrial things 
is sorrow, " Buddha teaches. 

"This, monks, is the truth concerning sorrow: 
Birth is suffering, old age is suffering, disease is 
suffering, death is suffering, union with aught 
unloved is suffering, separation from the beloved 
is suffering, and failure to obtain the object of 
desire is suffering. ..." 

Nothing except pain is produced in life, and 
pain will remain on the earth as long as conscious- 
ness endures. When we go to the source from 
which disgust with Hfe has come to us,' it is sur- 
prising to find how pale and even colourless the 
Schopenhauers of all the ages remain in com- 
parison with their revered master. A feeling of 
intense disgust with everything that constitutes 
the essence of life animates the prophet. No- 
thing finds favour in the presence of his disap- 
pointment, which penetrates the joys and the 

^ See Samyuttaka-Nikaya; Anguttura-Nikaya; The Hours oj 
Dzammapada, etc. See also the classic sketch by M. Oldenberg: 

56 XKe Science of Happiness 

sorrows of life; man's triumphs and experiences; 
love and pleasures. 

"This, O monks, is the sacred truth concerning 
the suppression of pain. We must utterly crush 
desire, renounce it, free ourselves from it and allow 
it no room. ..." 

"From joy is bom suffering; therefore, whoever 
is liberated from joy, no longer suffers." 

"From love is bom suffering; whoever is re- 
leased from love has no anguish. ..." 

And the true Brahmin is he who, "liberated from 
life, has found extinction," that is, finds himself 
freed from every desire, every weakness. 

The negative principle of Buddhism is also 
transported into the doctrine of Cakya-Mouni. 
Contemplation is the object of life. Everything 
that constitutes the joy and the charm of existence 
is rejected, and men merely vegetate. The 
supreme ideal is the unconscious crumbling of 
the years, which vanish in the gulf of emptiness, 
without leaving any traces upon our personality. 
Man should aim to resemble granite, over whose 
surface the tempests and the rains glide without 
leaving any trace. By dint of seeking to render 
the soul insensible, it is killed. Reduced to the 
state of a corpse, it no longer feels anything, and 
thus ceases to exist. 

Optimism and Pessimism 57 

The good sense of the unprejudiced man re- 
mains perplexed in the presence of this multitude 
of mystic formulas behind which is concealed a 
truth so simple — life is a misfortune which benefits 
no one. But why cultivate it under mountains of 
verbiage, instead of sim.ply giving it a dismissal. 
Suicide being within the reach of all, it is surprising 
that it should not have been accomplished by all 
who have preached the incurable evil inherent in 
human life. 

Brahminism regards the world and life as re- 
grettable accidents. 

Judaism has rendered this life very sombre, 
while forgetting to illuminate that of the world 

The predominant care of Christianity is to 
poison the httle joys of life. Of all the things in 
the world, says Pascal, the Christian shares only 
the sorrows, not the pleasures. Yet Christian- 
ity has taken care to kindle the fires of hope 
in these vague and uncertain skies. But the 
scepticism of our times has breathed pitilessly 
upon these, and the scattered dreams have left 
behind only the desolation of empty space. To 
the privileged faithful followers whom doubt has 
spared, remains the divine luxury of souls. But ^, 
those who can still enjoy this luxury are rare. So 

58 TKe Science of Happiness 

much the better for the onward march of human- 
ity, for this dehght of souls is the death of bodies. 
It is the sentence of Hfe. Already, under the 
Fathers of the Church, civil society had been 
compelled to rebel against this form of happiness. 
Like Buddhism, it threatened to destroy life. 

VII. From all religions proceeds a breath of 
despair. It blows through the world like a tempest. 
It also blows in the form of gentle, scarcely per- 
ceptible currents of air. It filters into the most 
mysterious circumvolution of our brains. The 
emancipated thought, which appears to be most 
hostile to it, is also imbued. The pessimists have 
inherited the Hving or dead religions. The 
German pessimists, who have left an almost 
indehble imprint upon modern philosophy and 
Hterature, only illumine with a Buddhist torch 
troubles which are often utterly alien to our 
latitudes. And Hke the deliverers of olden times, 
the pessimists of the present day are toiHng for 
the weakening of the vital foundations necessary 
to the prosperity of the individual and of the 

VIII. The rare principles of serenity preserved 
in the Christian dogmas are compromised in 
our time. This is chiefly due to the solvent in- 
fluence of the German philosophers. Hartmann 

optimism and Pessimism 59 

even goes so far as to base the birth of Christianity 
upon sin and evil. Without these two roots, 
Christianity, he says, would not have lived. And 
since evil remains the eternal attribute of man, 
only suicide could deliver us. Bahnsen and his 
co-religionists preach the benefits of suicide for 
the help of others. 

IX. I have never understood why we speak 
of the serenity of the Greek religion. Its concep- 
tions of death, and its threats in regard to souls 
in torment, appear inhuman. They lack beauty 
and proportion. If the ancients did not suffer 
too keenly from them, it is because their minds, 
still young, less trained, had more resistance than 
ours. After all, we know less of their life than we 
know of the Hfe of our country neighbours. Yet 
let us admit that the ideas of their dramatists and 
their historians are deeply tinctured by appre- 
hensions of a cruel and unjust fate. 

The gods laugh at the arrogant man, says ^s- 
chylus. Cassandra laments over human affairs, 
for if they prosper, a shadow annihilates them. 
The gods are evil by nature; they envy man and 
mankind. The chorus of Antigone wails : "There 
is no way for mortals to elude the misfortunes of 
destiny. " Sophocles has given utterance to some 
thoughts which are worthy of the most bitter 

6o XHe Science of Happiness 

pessimists. "The most reasonable thing is never 
to be born; but when we have seen the light, the 
next best thing is to return whence we came."' 

Where shall we turn? From every direction 
we hear only mournful cries. The gift of penetrat- 
ing the mysteries of the other life has been bestowed 
upon Greek genius, but what it brings back freezes 
us with terror. Alcestes (Euripides) returns 
from the realm of shades, pale and exhausted, 
almost dead himself from having witnessed so 
many horrors. 

Theognis (Elegies) also tells us that "it would 
be better not to be born, but once born, the best 
thing would be to pass the gates of Hades as soon 
as possible." According to Plutarch, "life is a 
punishment and man's greatest misfortune is to be 

The apprehensions of the Hellenes reappear 
among the Romans. Plin}^ the Elder enumerates 
with cruelty all the woes of man. He places him 
below the other species peophng our planet.'' 
The great naturalist thus paraphrases the sally of 
old Homer, according to whom "of all the beings 
that breathe and move upon the earth, not one 
is more contemptible than man." Seneca speaks 
of death in the same terms as do Sophocles or 

^ CEdtpus at Colonus. ^ Natural History (7th Book). 

optimism and Pessimism 6i 

Theognis. Is it not for him "the best invention 
of nature"?' 

Man knows Httle of his ills, he tells us later, if 
he does not regard death as the fairest invention 
of nature! According to Seneca, ''society re- 
sembles an association of wild beasts: the hus- 
band seeks to kill his wife, the latter conspires 
against her husband, the son looks forward to his 
father's end; stepmothers are engaged in poison- 
ing,'' etc. ' 

The soul of the gentle Marcus Aurehus was 
steeped in gloom. Long in advance of Hamlet, he 
torments himself before the bones of the illustrious 
dead. ''Alexander of Macedonia and his mule- 
driver have been reduced, after death, to the same 
condition. All is but corruption ! " he cries. Like 
that other hero of Shakespeare, he compares life 
to an insipid force, "for all that we esteem in life 
is but emptiness, baseness, corruption." 

Kis optimism, in short, is only the resignation of 
a sufferer. 

The divine serenity of the Greeks and the 
Romans is found only in the imagination of their 

Plato alone, in ancient times, frankly proclaimed 
the joy of Hving. The inexhaustible spring of his 

I Consolations to Marcia. ^ Seneca, Treatise on Anger. 

62 TKe Science of Happiness 

optimism would have had enough nourishment for 
future ages, but the Platonic golden thread was 
soon submerged beneath the deluge of pessimistic 
thoughts. When we find it again among the Neo- 
Platonists, its principles have become gloomy and 
dull. The same comment applies to the Neo- 
Pythagoreans. Both schools, exasperated at be- 
ing unable to find truth through reason, think that 
they discover it in death. Thus in the dwelling 
of the bard of Hfe sprang up the growth "non- 

The cause of the deception of the historians is 
the paradisaical life of the ancient gods. All the 
mirth having been once gathered in Olympus, 
scarcely anything remained for poor humanity. 
The Christian hell, borrowed from Homer's realm 
of shades, affords us an after-taste of what must 
be the posthumous life of the children of Hellas. 
For all that is buried is not always dead. And the 
divinities that for ages have fallen into decay do 
not cease to shed their melancholy smile upon the 
life of our own day. 

Let us be just. The theistic and polytheistic 

^ We may say also that the Greek atmosphere lent itself so 
little to serene optimism that PJato himself cannot help preferring 
death to life. His Phcedon shows us that the sage's whole soul 
is eager to go to death, and that this is the sole object of his 

Optimisixi and Pessimism 63 

religions have no monopoly of despair. Almost all 
the modem doctrines of immanence (pantheistic, 
which ought to draw from Nature reasons for joy) 
find only the accents of desolation. The Absolute 
of Schelling thus is united with the Idea of Hegel, 
the Will of Schopenhauer, the Unconscious of 

X. The modern soul becomes incensed amid 
the pain of living, of thinking, of dying. The 
meaning of Hfe appears to be perverted. Turned 
toward the real, or losing itself in dreams, it always 
betrays a profound restlessness, which unsettles 
existence as a little carbonic gas disturbs a bottle 
of pure water. The equilibrium of the molecules 
being disturbed, their harmony is not dis- 

There is room for a Saviour who will some day 
destroy the causes of the whirlpool and restore to 
the human soul its pure and refreshing clarity. 

Perhaps the task will not be a very easy one. 
It is a mistake to believe that the white light is 
entirely simple. It is composed of seven colours. 
The clearness of the soul is the result of many 
combinations, which must be discovered and dif- 
fused throughout the world. 

XL In the interval, let us admire all that 
human ingenuity has imagined and invented to 

64 TKe Science of Happiness 

jeopardise our happiness. Its efforts, if we piled 
up the aggregate of all the ages and of all the 
nations, would form a mountain capable of hiding 
the sun. Look at a single islet of the mind, the 
corner of a century of French intellectuality. Ana- 
lyse poets like Baudelaire or Musset, Lamartine 
or de Vigny, philosophers like Renan or Taine, 
novelists like Flaubert, Maupassant, Goncourt, 
Zola, or their descendants, historians, sociologists, 
and you wi'l find among all these representatives 
of the French mentality of the second half of the 
nineteenth century the same feeHng of disgust with 
life. Sensual or depraved, refined or sublimated, 
rational, raving, or resigned, the pessimistic con- 
ception dominates. It assumes every form, but 
these forms cover the same desolation. 

Those who have studied the overflowing sadness 
of all these disenchanted souls attribute their 
melancholy chiefly to the riot of romance. This is 
one of the causes, but it is not the only one. 
Their melancholy dates back a good deal farther, 
and the germs may be found in Lucretius or among 
forgotten thinkers and philosophers of whose very 
names we are ignorant. Artists and authors, 
with their deeper sensibility, and their almost 
morbid impressionability, allow themselves to be 
more influenced by the afflictions which fill the 

optimism and Pessimism 65 

air. They submit more easily to big words which 
often do not shelter big realities. The life without 
and the life within rarely harmonise in their souls, 
which are exposed to every tempest. Imbued 
with dark ideas, their sensibility becomes still 
more inflamed, and, ever astir, refers everything 
to disappointment and sorrow. 

A great poet who is regarded as a great philo- 
sopher, Alfred de Vigny, intoxicated by all the 
theoretical deceptions which his soul had imbibed 
as a sponge absorbs the liquid within its reach, 
declared with the firmness which an ideological 
conviction bestov/s, that ''hope is the greatest of 
our follies. " ' In this prison called life, whence we 
go forth one after another to death, we can expect 
no walk, no flower. According to the happy de- 
finition of Remy de Gourmont, it is "the point 
of honour of boredom." We must be bored, 
"it is a sort of higher duty." This, moreover, 
is the pet word of many of his contemporaries, 
and of the poets and novelists who will succeed 

Leconte de Lisle even endeavoured to surpass 
it by plainly entreating divine death to liberate us 
from time, quantity, and "space." He besought 
it to restore the repose which life had disturbed. 

^ A. de Vigny, Journal. 

66 XHe Science of Happiness 

As existence did not contain a sufficient number 
of the germs of despair to satisfy him, he sought to 
borrow, and did so among the Hindoo poets and 

There is a sort of fraternity of dull despair 
which unites in its ramifications the entire world. 
Vanished generations have left their griefs in it, 
and those of modern times constantly add to the 
fund. Widen the base of observation, advance 
toward those who appear to be influenced by the 
harmony of life; — ^you will find' the same anguish 
of hearts, concealed beneath the charms of smiling 
irony. The greatest genius among them, Anatole 
France, will even tell you that life resembles a 
huge manufactory of pottery, where all kinds of 
vases are made for unknown purposes, several 
of which, broken in the mould, are cast aside as 
worthless fragments without ever having been 
used. These are the children who die. Others 
are employed only for absurd or disgusting 
uses. These vessels, France says, are we 

Elsewhere, the gentle philosopher Anatole 
France speaks with still less caution of the entire 
solar system, which, he asserts, is only a Gehenna, 
where the animal is born for suffering and 

Optimism and Pessimism 67 

Even those whose mission is to brighten our 
existence frequently offer us only a soul tinged 
with the emanations of the universal sorrow, which 
in spite of or against their wishes filters into it 
with their personal vexations or with the deceptions 
that escape from most of the moral or intellec- 
tual systems. 

As a grain of sand is sufficient to warp our 
mental machinery, a misinterpretation of a moral 
problem also suffices to overthrow for ever the 
serenity of our souls. An incorrect conception of 
death or of the future life has doubtless disturbed 
our inward peace far more than the most essen- 
tial conditions of our daily life. Thus it happens 
that even the gayest writers are often a prey to 
dismal melancholy. 

The case of Mark Twain, one of the greatest 
humourists of our times, is very typical in this re- 
spect. In his little book What is Man?, published 
under the screen of anonymity and distributed 
among his friends. Twain reveals the sufferings 
caused by his " determinist ' ' faith. The idea that 
we are only mere instruments fashioned by cir- 
cumstances which deprive us for that very reason 
of all merit, all originality, and leave us merely 
the humiliation cf being simply machines upon 
which we cannot even exercise any control, 

68 THe Science of Happiness 

deeply tortures his mind. In his Dialogues 
between the Old Man and the Young Man, 
the latter 's soul is seen gradually invaded by 
grief for vanished dreams. 

'* Then cannot God make an honest man in 
the real meaning of the word? " asks the Young 
Man. Twain answers : '' No doubt He might have 
done so, but He never has. " 

Thus may be explained many little master- 
pieces of this exquisite story-teller where, behind 
faces illumined by a smile, we .perceive mournful 
dramas hidden in the background of men and of 

While small minds bewail their own fate, great 
ones whelm in their despair the entire world. 
They even include inanimate matter. 

Literature, which guides and inspires our sen- 
sibility, does not cease, as if intentionally, to feed 
it upon the disenchantment of life. So many 
generations, bowed under the burden of this 
morbid heredity, nevertheless rise smiling on the 
present, and cherishing the dream of the future! 
So there is something in our "ego" stronger than 
this layer of pessimist alluvium. This mysterious 
element, constantly repressed and stifled, ever 
young and living, must be inherent in human 

Optimism and Pessimism 69 

What matter whether it is innate or acquired? 
The essential thing is that it shows itself under the 
influence of life itself. It makes the child laugh 
and gives to mature age joy in effort. 

''Perhaps the philosophy of Julian Sorel was 
true, " cries Stendhal, "but its natiire was to make 
us desire death." No, it is false, because we do 
not cease to desire, and to be keenly interested 
in, life. 

No, it is false. To be convinced of this, we 
need only look around us. All our efforts are 
summed up in these few words: Make life longer 
and happier. Faith in life, instinctive and pro- 
found, does not cease to mock its time-honoured 

XII. Let us observe the great, the greatest 
of the human race, those who dream only of anni- 
hilation, and we shall see that they love the less 
substantial things at the disposal of life: worldly 
success, living or posthumous renown. Monu- 
ments of insensibility, they bleed through all the 
pores of their "ego." In short, they love life. 
In spite of themselves, they show it to others when 
they are sincere. They are imbued with this 
love, and do not hide it when, mere comedians, 
they labour only for the applause of the crowd. 
Victims of their parts, they often resemble those 

70 THe Science of Happiness 

actors who consider themselves wretched after 
being poisoned by the speeches of the Marquis de 
Posa or of Chatterton. 

But lo! a smile from life, and the most morose 
lose their masks. Schopenhauer, the most im- 
placable among the scorners of existence, fled 
from Berlin in 1831, driven out by the cholera. 
While preaching the suicide of the world through 
the absolute continence of the sexes,' he becomes 
the father of an illegitimate child. An ardent 
patriot, he buys presentation swords for his com- 
rades, but takes care not to go to the war himself. 
According to him, the deaf and the blind are 
happy. "" The former do not hear, the latter do 
not see their contemporaries. But Schopenhauer 
spent his life in theatres and gatherings where 
people enjoy themselves and talk. In reality 
he worships life, and only seeks to inspire a dis- 
gust for it in other people's minds. He despises 
money, but he carefully secretes it and spends 
it with the hesitation of a miser. Whoever 
teaches that our life is the happier in proportion 
to its brevity, plans to enjoy it to the utmost 

His "delirium of enormity," a cruel malady 
which held him under its control nearly all his 

* The World as Will and Idea. ^ Parerga and Paralipomena, 

Optimism and Pessimism 71 

life, exasperated him. He believed himself to be 
one of the greatest of men, and there were only a 
dozen friends and admirers to recognise the fact. 
So the irascible philosopher consoled himself by 
covering with contempt the human species which 
was incapable of rising to his heights. 

It is well to keep constantly awake "in our soul 
the scorn deserved by the majority of men," he 
wrote in a note-book which he entitled Spicilegia. 
"Let your tone make those around you understand 
. . . I am not like you.'' Elsewhere he told us 
that "a missionary of the truth to the human race, 
like himself, ought not to fraternise with human 
beings." But this despiser of men noted at the 
same time, with morbid satisfaction, ''that an 
Englishman, who had merely seen me, said that I 
must possess an extraordinary intelligence." 

"A Frenchman remarked concerning me: 'He 
is a superior being.' An Italian, who was an 
entire stranger, greeted me with these words: 
'Sir, you must have done something great. I do 
not know what it is, but I see it in your face.' " ' 

Within him were two beings and two minds. 
Was his system the philosophical expression of 
his life, ^ or was it in contradiction to the course of 

^ Griesbach, Gespraeclie tend Selhstgespraeche. 
' E. von Mayer, Schopenhauer Aesthetik. 

72 XKe Science of Happiness 

his existence?' The undeniable fact exists. His 
philosophy was written on the margin of his life. 
The tragedy of the universal misery is only his 
personal tragedy, amplified and elevated to the 
rank of an epic. He suffered martyrdom, because 
his sensibility was morbid to excess. He felt not 
only the stings of fate, but also those of his own 
mind. And withal, he was fiery and passionate. 
But for the melancholy which held him aloof 
from the world, he would have ruined his health 
very speedily, destroyed by the orgy of the senses. 
The contradiction in his mental tendencies enabled 
him to recover himself. He lived in and through 
his ideas. He pondered over the cruel destiny 
of man until the moment when his own destiny, 
released by age from the inconsistencies of his 
temperament, and by success from the cruel- 
ties of fate, permitted him to regard the world 

He had, moreover, an intuitive sense. He 
wrote as an artist with a rare and penetrating 
faculty of vision. He not only went to the heart 
of things, but far beyond. Behind the sadness 
that surrounded him, he penetrated to the misery 
of the world. 

In a page of subtle analysis, one of his bio- 

^ Kuno Fischer, Schopenhauer. 

Optimism and Pessimism 73 

graphers^ thus describes his exceptional vision: 
*'He sees with a glance whose keenness no one has 
equalled the imposition of everything that con- 
stitutes the joy of life: the emptiness of pleasures, 
the vanity of love, which makes the individual the 
unconscious servant of the race." 

But his senses do not subscribe to the judgment 
of his intelligence, and the dualism which follows 
was abolished only by old age and success. Both 
soothed his sensibility and his irritated uneasiness, 
which used the dark sides of life to fabricate his 
thoughts of sorrow and disappointment. For 
his hatred, as well as his scorn of m.ankind, formed 
only a superficial layer of his consciousness. In 
the depths lay faith in the better destinies of his 
fellow-creatures. He even believed in progress and 
in human perfectibility. The "shallow and im- 
becile" optimism which he accused of every crime 
and did not cease to flout and ridicule so long as he 
was a victim of his own sorrows, sharpened by his 
morbid sensibility, took the opportunity for re- 
venge and exhibited him in amazing changes. The 
contradictions between what he desired to make 
us believe, and what he believed later, were 
flagrant and profound. Have not people gone so 
far in recent times as to write a sketch, which is 

^ Th. Ruyssen, Schopenhauer. 

74 THe Science of Happiness 

not paradoxical, upon the Optimism of Schopen- 
hauer,'' for he himself makes the essential foun- 
dations of his theory crumble, by admitting in 
his last work the possibility of happiness, and 
giving us counsels from his own experience for 
its enjoyment. "^ Carried away by this confes- 
sion, so alien to his mind and to his temperament, 
he desires the life of a centenarian to profit by 
the fruits of his own wisdom and by the charms of 
existence which he had known how to secure. 

While his entire system of morality revolves 
around the dogmas relating to the unchangeable 
character of man, or the wickedness which results 
from knowledge and experience, he later insisted 
upon the benefits which, nevertheless, may be 
derived from these. 

The man who never ceases to talk of the death 
of all the religions, ends by lauding his own. 
The triumph of his true philosophy will cause the 
smiling death (euthanasia) of all religions. And 
naturally mankind would then realise great progress 
and would thus advance toward a better destiny. 

His hatred of Christianity (because it had in- 
herited, among other things, from Judaism its 
faith in free will and in salvation by works) was 

' St. Rz^wuski. 

' See his Aphorismes sur la sage conduite de la vie. 

optimism and Pessimism 75 

insensibly modified and he might be surprised in 
unconscious coquetry with the New Testament. 
The religion of the Jews had been odious to him, 
and had engendered his philosophical anti-semit- 
ism, which, by a cruel irony of things, was after- 
ward adopted by the most fervent believers in the 
dogmas branded and vilified by Schopenhauer. 

But the New Testament, under the influence of 
Vedism, which had penetrated its first essence, 
had also conceived of the salvation by grace, that 
is by absence of occupation and prayer. For that 
very reason, it was determinist to the utmost, 
directed against personal responsibility and the 
desire to live. The Judaising elements, however, 
were on the watch. In this conflict, waged from 
the dawn of Christianity, between the Vedic 
influence and that of the Old Testament, the 
latter has had the upper hand. The ethics and 
the faith of Brahminism and of Buddhism, battered 
down, finally ended by separating from Christian- 
ity, which, distorted, and showing a bastard form, 
became odious to the philosopher of Frankfort 
and harmful to the human race. 

But this destroyer of Christianity dreamed only 
of founding another religion with Schopenhauer 
as prophet, and to render this religion viable he 
resorted to all sorts of superstitions, notwith- 

76 XHe Science of Happiness 

standing the fact that he constantly scoffed at the 
Christians because of their superstitions. 

He even had the audacity to tell us that certain 
inspirations to which he owed his redemption 
came to him directly from the "Holy Spirit."^ 
Nay more. Far from limiting himself to inactivity, 
the only consistent, normal consequence of his 
doctrine, he employed all the resources of his dia- 
lectic to effect the adoption of his faith, his religion. 
He made allusion to "apostles," to "dogmas," 
to "evangelists." He admitted "his worship" 
by "images and relics." 

What, becomes of his radical pessimism under 
these circumstances? Especially, what becomes 
of that forlorn life, the daughter of blind will? 
What becomes of the task, which, according to him, 
was imposed upon the will that, conscious of 
itself, had only a single mission : that of abolishing 
its work by the total cessation of desire? 

Having fallen from the top of a sixth story, we 
find ourselves unexpectedly placed in a comfort- 
able bed, and receive for pillow a gospel redolent 
of all the emanations of a happy life, mingled 
with those of the holy Vedic and Christian Biblical 

With an artlessness that provokes a smile, he 

^ New Paralipomena, 

Optimism and Pessimism 77 

mentioned quasi miracles of which his doctrine 
seemed to be the object. And this sublime 
scorner of religions, of progress, and of the desire 
to live, is, after all, only a haughty, misguided 
man who uses all the weapons presented by his 
frequently ingenious, profound, and original mind, 
to re-estabHsh and fortify the ideas that he has 
made it his mission to combat. 

M.Ernest Seilliere said justly that Schopenhauer, 
after all, was ''only a mystical Christian who 
rejected the fetters of dogma and the burden of 
ecclesiastical discipline." 

Precisely because he was mystical, or rather 
romantic in the highest degree, he has succeeded 
in influencing all whose earnest souls tend toward 
the mystery and the reveries developing from the 
reverses of life. But there are few who are free 
from these tendencies. The enumeration of the 
minds which have received and still receive the 
imprint of his pessimism^ sheds a blinding light 
upon the mystical appetites with which even those 
most rebellious to this current show themselves 
imbued. ^ 

' Schopenhauer (Chez Blond). 

2 Nietzsche, Schopenhauer als Erzieher. According to E. 
SeilHere, among his direct or indirect disciples must be num- 
bered Richard Wagner, Nietzsche Tolstoy, and in the Latin 

78 THe Science of Happiness 

Certain sides of Schopenhauer's talent and logic 
have only strengthened the influence of the mys- 
tical and romantic portion of his work: the 
simplicity of his doctrine; his clear, exact, often 
caustic and witty style; his work, comparable to 
that of a work of art, for it proceeds from the 
direct vision of things; his thoughts, which de- 
velop almost by the means of intuition, "at times, " 
as he himself said, **when all will was slumbering 
heavily and judgment was uncontrolled"; his 
ideas finally, collected into several volumes, which 
offer us the entirety of all the philosophical and 
moral sciences, beginning by a system of nature, 
one of religion, an ontology, a philosophy of law 
and of history, an individual and collective psy- 
chology, and a theory of knowledge. He has 
known how to deal an almost decisive blow to the 
morality of the categorical imperative, that 
invulnerable and invincible nightmare of all 
modern moralists, and these are so many reasons 
which have not ceased, and never will cease, to 
attract the modern soul toward his pessimism, 
which is often pernicious and dissolvent. By 
exerting an action either direct or through a 
surrounding atmosphere pervaded by his thought, 

countries Renan, d'Annunzio, etc., without mentioning the French 
represented by various schools (Remy de Gourmont, etc.). 

optimism and Pessimism 79 

this philosopher of dismal appearance will doubt- 
less continue to poison our reasoning. But we 
need only look behind his apparent doctrine, in- 
tended to scandalise and impress his contempora- 
ries, to the more matured one which his own 
experience has succeeded in grafting upon the 
first, to conceive and to comprehend the abyss 
which separates the reality from our theoretical 
speculations. ' 

The song of the siren of disenchantment often 
has irresistible modulations. It calls and urges 
us toward the gulf. But on reaching its frightful 
chasm, we perceive, first of all, the disappearance 
of her who drew us there. When, perplexed, 
we rush to find her, we see her seated calmly in a 
delightful shelter from which she smiles upon life 
and carefully thrusts aside everything which 
might sully or disturb. 

Toward the end of his days, he abandoned the 
part which he had assumed. Fame took him by 
surprise, smoothed his brow, and removed the 
sour expression from his face. Artists flocked to 
paint his portrait, women to deify him, disciples 

^ A whole literature exists in the world to prove that, after all, 
Schopenhauer's doctrine, so contemptuous of romanticism, really 
owes to it its origin, and is deeply imbued by its spirit. See 
among others the works of Hoefifding, M. Meyer, Hettner, Ruy- 
ssen, Seilli^re, etc. 

8o TKe Science of Happiness 

to weep with him over the miseries of the world. 
All found an old man who was deHghted to live. 
The bugbear of men became a charmer by whom 
they were attracted and fascinated. 

The inability to grasp the value of life, to enjoy 
its good sides and to combat its evil ones, is merely 
the result of circumstances. The cruelties of the 
individual's fate are often far more responsible 
than are the defects inherent in the world order. 
Remove from the calumniators of life the private 
reasons that render it odious to them, and you 
will remove the venom from their souls. 

The rational being, which man ought pre- 
eminently to be, frequently shows himself the 
most irrational. Compelled to accompany his 
inevitable companion, life, and having the con- 
dition of his existence solely in and through it, 
he will make it odious, for the mere pleasure of 
being able to speak evil of it. He will do violence 
to his logic and will invent the most outrageous 
fables in order to intensify his own sufferings and 
to multiply those of his neighbour. Nay, he will 
even protest that those who rebel against his 
calumnies, and oppose to them a more accurate 
conception of men and things, are only Philistines 
of contemptible and inferior essence. 

As the "Will to live" does not appear to him 

Optimism and Pessimism 8i 

sufficiently mischievous, a Hartmann will sub- 
stitute for it his Unconscious; and by dwelling 
upon this power, which he never enabled us to 
comprehend, he decapitated on his way all the 
causes that facilitated for us the harmony with 
existence. His divagations are summed up as 
follows : 

Happiness? Formerly it was placed among the 
blessings of this world. Happiness was youth, 
goodness, beauty, fame. This belief is at an end. 

Our happiness has been transplanted into an 
inaccessible and ultra- terrestrial world, into the 
immortality of the soul. But it has been perceived 
that the point in question concerns only the il- 
lusions of our imagination, which have no more 
consistency than our dreams. 

This happiness has been finally placed in a 
strange building of future humanity, but how can 
these distant and non-existent hopes compensate 
for the troubles of our life here below? 

By following out his idea to the end, Hartmann 
would teach the benefits of a cosmic suicide. The 
author of the Philosophy of the Unconscious 
would discount in advance the discovery of a 
scientific apparatus which might repair the error 
and the crime of the Unconscious through which 
we have been born and live. 


82 XHe Science of Happiness 

Only his cosmic logic has paused at the thresh- 
old of his own person. 

This apostle of death in common has yielded 
to his love of life by the side of his fellow-men. 
And this life has remained dear in spite of all the 
ugliness in which he had garbed it. 

Surpassing his master, E. von Hartmann' even 
maintained the sole conclusion which follows 
logically from the premises established by Buddha 
and taken up again by his Occidental pupils. 
The world has only to disappear. 

God Himself has finally perceived the insuffi- 
ciency and the imperfection of His work. Lofty 
morality consists in man's co-operation "in order 
to shorten this pathway of suffering and of re- 
demption. '* 

Let us listen to Hartmann. How was the world 
created ? The German philosopher gravely teaches 
us that God, being unhappy in His eternity, has 
amused Himself by launching the infinite series 
of phenomena which form the world, in order to 
afford Himself diversion. Evil has resulted, for 
His misfortune has only increased. Passing from 
this singular ontology into real life, Hartmann 
rejoices that a day will come when human beings, 
in consequence of the progress of science and dis- 

" Phenomenology of the Moral Consciousness. 

Optimism and Pessimism 83 

coveries, will obtain an explosive powerful enough 
to blow up a universe. 

Our planet having disappeared, God will be 
delivered at the same time as man. 

This eccentric doctrine forgets, for the occasion, 
the modest part that the earth plays in the econ- 
omy of the universe. Thinking only of his own 
salvation and of that of his brothers, Hartmann has 
completely forgotten the fate of the Lord, who, 
after the disappearance of the earth, is obliged to 
contemplate the countless millions of stars, whose 
persistent existence will not cease to weary and 
displease Him. There is something greater than 
the eternal misfortune that weighs upon this 
world, and that is the dismal fancy of the philo- 
sophers who try to cure us of it. 

The Unconscious of Hartmann, which has thus 
replaced the Will of Schopenhauer, is scarcely 
more exhilarating. It might be said that his 
Unconscious possesses almost a conscious wicked- 
ness, for that is what produces the evil and the 
cruel illusions of happiness. 

Pain is everything in our life, and pleasure plays 
no part in it. Even in an equal degree pain has a co- 
efficient higher than that of pleasure. ' ' An animal 
that eats another feels less pleasure in eating it, than 
the latter experiences discomfort in being eaten. *' 

84 XKe Science of Happiness 

In vain do we seek Happiness. It is not to be 
found, for the human race has never discovered it. 

XIII. The life of Timon is re-enacted in that 
of all the scorners of mankind who have succeeded 
the disenchanted Athenian. 

In short, it is only the pessimist philosophers 
who, slaves of their own doctrine, seek to make us 
believe that the world is modelled upon their 

Leopardi is the most irascible of the poets of 
nothingness. ''Every living being, to whatever 
age he may belong, ' in whatever world or on what 
planet he may have seen the light, is fatally de- 
voted to irremediable misfortune." — "Happiness, 
whatever it may be, is impossible to attain. "^ 

He does not confine himself to ranting about 
the wretchedness of men. According to him, all 
nature is a prey to the most excruciating suffer- 
ings. Go into a garden, even in the pleasant est 
season of the year, and you will find everywhere 
traces of pain. Yonder rose is injured by the sun 
that gave it life; it is drooping, withered. Farther 
on, see that lily at whose most vital parts a bee is 
cruelly sucking. This tree is infested with ants; 
that one with caterpillars, snails, flies, mosquitoes. 

^ Dialogue of the Earth and the Moon. 
' Dialogue of Plotin and Porphyry. 

optimism and Pessimism 85 

There is not a lawn in perfect condition. And 
meanwhile you are crushing the grass in walking. 

Then Leopardi, deformed and suffering, has 
reasons for smiling at life. His philosophy bright- 
ens. The poet who saw around him nothing but 
hospitals and cemeteries, begins to enjoy existence. 
He even believes in the perfectibility of man, and 
judges his dissolvent ideas severely. "I praise," 
he tells us, "and I glorify those doctrines, however 
false they may be, which produce noble, strong, 
generous, and virtuous deeds and thoughts, useful 
for public and private welfare. " 

Well done! That is language worthy of a 
friend of man, concerned for his future and the 
normal development of his interests. 

The same thing happens to our conceptions of 
life that happens while we are looking at Nature. 
We see her sometimes too far away, sometimes too 
close at hand. We see her, above all, with the 
eyes of the moment. The angle from which we 
look at things, creates the appearance of the things. 
While some grieve over the spectacle of a cruel 
and unmoved Nature, others behold with delight 
the great Whole of which they form a part. Some 
tremble before the terrors of the night, others 
enjoy her awe-inspiring beauty. The sun blesses 
and gladdens ; infinity alarms and som.e- 

86 TTHe Science of Happiness 

times consoles. Yet Nature, the night, infinitude, 
always remain the same. It is we who see them 

XIV. Chateaubriand sowed along his entire 
career, with unequalled zeal, sadness and disen- 
chantment. Was he at least sincere? It is 
enough to remember with what childish vanity 
he enjoyed all the pleasures of life, his distinctions, 
his titles, his fame as a writer, and his conquests 
as a selfish and incorrigible lover. 

Moreover, he expressed his weariness in words 
so carefully chosen that we begin to doubt the 
reality of his sufferings. 

A day came when his own confessions opened to 
us a large window upon the mystery of his 

In the work may be read this disturbing phrase' : 
"It was in the wood of Combourg that I began to 
feel the first attack of that weariness which I have 
dragged with me all my life, the melancholy which 
has constituted my torment and my felicity.'' 
And suddenly, delivered from the magic of his 
style, we have perceived a man intoxicated by his 
own greatness; under the cover of sadness, a 
feeling of pride in being distinguished from the 
world of mortals. 

' Memoires d'outre-tombe. 

Optimism and Pessimism 87 

Rene's melancholy was, after all, only a pleasure 
of self-love, a delight of rare essence, a special 
felicity of a genius in love with his rarity and 
seeking to impose it upon the admiration of his 

Nevertheless, this spurious sadness has cast a 
veil of profound melancholy over the world and 
caused more tears to be shed than the most formid- 
able wars. 

The cult of sadness, in the main, is only a fad. 
Its great injury is in lasting too long a time. It 
somewhat resembles the mania of death, which 
settles from time to time upon disconsolate man- 
kind. The fourteenth century was pre-eminently 
one in which death reigned as sovereign mistress. 
''Morte nihil melius'^ ("There is nothing better than 
death"), said men, fascinated by its strange grim- 
aces. Entwined in one enormous saraband, 
Germans, Swiss, Dutchmen, and Frenchmen 
began in 1374 the fantastic dance of death. Its 
victims, whose number constantly increased, only 
sharpened the taste for death by rendering it more 
desirable and more enviable. It filled religious 
books and church windows with its images; 
insinuated itself into the carvings of the furniture 
and the drinking-cups ; took its place triumphantly 
at the doors of houses and of churches, and en- 

88 THe Science of Happiness 

ttironed the hideous skeleton and the empty skull 
in poetry and the arts. 

But the shout of triumph of the Renaissance 
echoed through the world. The worship of death, 
pursued by the divine works which reality drew 
from the most illustrious beings, vanished 
and disappeared. The happy heart will also 
som.e day reap its revenge upon the boundless sad- 
ness and pessimism that never cease to corrode it. 
This new Renaissance, so much to be desired, will 
bestow a renewal of genius, and the triumph of 
human happiness. 

Everything cries out to man that the calum- 
niators of his happiness are wrong. This inward 
voice is stronger than the real deceptions of the 
unfortunate or the claptrap of the flatterers of 
nothingness. Nourished by thoughts of desola- 
tion, we still turn to hope, as plants turn toward 
the beneficent light. 

Optimism penetrates our life as the hope of 
success and happiness influences our actions. 
Deprive man of it, and his development will be 
stunted and paralysed, if not destroyed. 

The crowding and the formidable competition 
from which the liberal professions suffer, deprive 
the newcomers of the smallest chances of success. 
All the civilised countries are in the same predica- 

Optimism and Pessimism 89 

ment. Physicians, lawyers, and engineers com- 
plain that they earn less than v.'orkmen. Yet 
everywhere there is the same throng of candidates 
for privations and ill-success. No, they come 
full of the hope of grasping the marshal's baton 
and enjoying the favours of the mysterious fairy 
who, from time to time, covers with her patronage 
some Prince Charming of the bar, of engineering, 
or of medicine. 

Games of chance work greater and greater 
havoc. Races and speculations on the Stock 
Exchange engulf salaries, the savings and the 
wages of workm.en, of people living on their in- 
comes, of the rich and of the poor. The clubs 
where members and visitors are plundered with the 
same diligence are packed. Lottery tickets win 
prizes, and the governments themselves resort 
to them to restore the balance of their funds. The 
hope of winning the great and even the little prize 
is as old as man, as his solid and lasting optimism, 
in spite of all the assaults of the ages. 

There is something pathetic in this faith in good 
fortune which animates the thousands of buyers 
of lottery tickets. The chance of winning is 
often less than that the earth will be plunged in 
the eternal abyss. And while the pessimistic 
hypothesis of perishing with the earth alarms only 

90 TKe Science of Happiness 

a few sincere souls, the less probable chance of 
winning a prize in the Turkish or Congo Belgian 
lotteries induces multitudes to sacrifice the money 
which, to many people, is as dear as their own 

XV. Who are the poets, the novelists, the 
philosophers that are free from the pessimist 
poison? Their number is small. By the side of 
Plato, and to a certain extent Aristotle, Giordano 
Bruno, Spinoza, Leibnitz, perhaps we might find 
half a score of philosophers, poets, or writers who 
always speak of life with a just comprehension, 
therefore almost with love. 

So we do not cease to be tossed to and fro with- 
out advancing. Our masters hurry us toward the 
abyss. Yet we do not fall into it. Our souls, 
reared in contempt for life, ought to find delight 
in annihilation. We ought to curse the light and 
the heat of the sun. Nevertheless we bless them. 
Thus the attractions of life show themselves 
stronger than the calumnies they have been made 
to endure since the childhood of our minds. The 
ineradicable aspiration toward happiness laughs 
at all the combined efforts to strangle it. It 
lives within us, and we do not cease to live for its 

The pessimist writers form the most amusing 

Optimism and Pessimism 91 

species. Why do they write? Is it for the human 
race which they detest? Is it for the fame which 
they seem, or rather which they ought, to despise? 
What is famic? It is Hfe in the imagination of our 
near or distant fellow-creatures, whom, moreover, 
we consider, almost always, as inferior to our- 
selves. But if we despise the reality of our own 
existence, how can we consistently love the imagi- 
nary one that is created by the caprices of chance ? 
The renown of writers is probably of no more value 
than that of dead sovereigns. Their life in history 
has nothing in common with the one which they 
have really lived. Fame flatters and conceals 
beings who are often wholly unlike their labels. 
During our lifetime, she turns a deaf ear to us; 
after our death she neglects our deeds and our 
thoughts. She uses our names as a forged mark. 
We are almost always famous for acts which we 
have not done or for thoughts which are mis- 
interpreted. Fame most frequently resembles a 
false paternity. 

Those who love life can console themselves for 
the hardship of its strange prolongation through 
fame. But what is to justify the thirst for ce- 
lebrity among the eager lovers of non-existence? 

XVI. The philosophers, the poets, and the 
moralists of "non-existence," when they attempt 

92 XKe Science of Happiness 

to make us share their views of nature and of nian» 
discover that they are flagrantly out of harmony 
with themselves. It is understood that they do 
not write for the benefit of human beings. The 
latter interest them very little. They are working 
solely for fame. But fame is one of the m.ost futile 
things in life. Their existence being suspended 
from one of the most fragile branches of- the tree, 
they give cause for laughter w^hen we see them 
amusing themselves by cutting the trunk and 
destroying the roots. 

A genuine pessimist is logical only in suicide. 
Despoiled of all phraseology, what is pessimism? 
A theory, according to which "non-existence" is 
of greater worth than existence. Then why 
labour, why maintain the breath of our souls, 
why grieve, suffer, weep, and lament, why delay 
the deliverance of the "non-existence"? 

Optimism believes the contrary. The pleasures 
and the good things of life outweigh - the ugly, 
mournful, and defective ones. Finding life toler- 
able, it expects to render it still better. It installs 
itself on earth as a careful cultivator of earth's 
blessings. Its belief justifies its life, and also 
justifies its troubles, its disappointments, its joys. 

Pessimism is inconsistent even as respects its 
motives for dissatisfaction. It mourns where it 

Optimism and Pessimism 93 

ought to rejoice. It weeps over the brief duration 
of life and bewails the possible disappearance of the 
sun. Logically it ought to rejoice that our exist- 
ence is not too long, and that the extinction of the 
sun is threatened. 

But let us beware of accepting too literally the 
fears of these victims of spleen. Life is always 
long for all those who know how to utilise their 
existence. Moreover, we can live to be two 
hundred years old.^ Speaking physiologically, 
the human body possesses peerless solidity. Not 
one of the m.achines invented by man could resist 
for a single year the incessant taxes which we im- 
pose upon ours. Yet it continues to perform its 
functions notwithstanding. 

As for the sun, it is far from extinction. Accord- 
ing to the calculations of Helmholtz, its diameter 
will diminish only one fortieth in 500,000 years! 
Millions of years between us and the disappearance 
of the heat which is indispensable to our life and to 
our plans ! By that time, mankind will know how 
to accommodate itself to a new existence. Per- 
haps it will find in geothermy a means of trans- 
forming the earth into a hothouse that will suit 
our tastes and our appetites. 

* See Philosophy of Longevity (Library of Contemporary 
Philosophy, F. Alcan). 

94 TKe Science of Happiness 

Still, I cannot help thinking that this grief over 
what may happen at the end of thousands or 
thousands of millions of years is infinitely comical. 

XVII. The pessimist has too sensitive a soul. 
Threatening or depressed, he is always out of 
temper. His facility of lamenting often places 
him in embarrassing situations. Yet he continues 
to shed tears, sometimes a few, sometimes in 
torrents. According to him, science itself is 
created only to dupe man. Tottering and un- 
certain, it gropes its way and makes no progress. 
A few scientific laws survive from the labour of 
so many ages. The pessimists of the twentieth 
century w^ould even be pleasantly surprised if 
they should learn that these few laws have proved 
erroneous. And while the principal beams of 
the building are creaking all along the Hne, the 
building itself nevertheless remains sound. The 
situation must be understood. The pessimists 
always seek things that cannot be found. Then 
they grieve because they have discovered nothing. 
Having enclosed nature within the narrow con- 
ceptions of their own brains, they bewail the 
spectacle of a world that scorns to follow them, 
and from the fear of finding their brains inade- 
quate, declare it to be evil. 

Yes, the half dozen principles forming the sub- 

optimism and Pessimism 95 

stance of mathematical physics are now seriously 
compromised. Whether it is the principle of 
Newton or of Lavoisier ' ; the principle of Carnot ^ 
of that of relativity; the principle of least resist- 
ance, or that of the conservation of energy; all 
these primordial strata of modern science are 
trembling upon their foundations. The sensation 
made by radium still echoes in our ears. We were 
so convinced of the infallibility of the principle 
of the conservation of energy that the discov- 
ery of Becquerel and of Curie at first found us 

This radium, which releases itself, is escaping 
energy. It does not cease escaping, in spite of and 
contrary to the sacred law which commands energy 
not to scatter. We had the consolation of believ- 
ing that it disappears in infinitesimal and intangi- 
ble proportions. Ramsay has proved the contrary. 
What is to be concluded? That Mayer's principle 
is false? That science has made an error? By 
no means. An explanation was immediately found. 
Radiations of an unknown nature fill space. Ra- 
dium had the rare privilege of first collecting and 
then radiating them. After all, this is a plausible 
hypothesis. It answers every objection. It can- 

' Principle of the conservation of the mass. 
• J he degradation of energy. 

g6 TKe Science of Happiness 

not be verified, and for that very reason, M. H. 
Poincare good-naturedly asserts, is irrefutable. 
For the great scientists are the last men' to be dis- 
turbed by the chances which befall their beloved 
science. They abandoned long ago the scholastic 
conception of the laws of nature. These laws no 
longer represent eternal and changeless harmonies. 
They express the steadfast relations which unite 
the two phenomena: that of the present and that 
of the future. The goal of science, of its laws and 
of its principles, is to foresee. But when these pre- 
visions prove baseless, she easily consoles herself; 
for neither she nor her laws claim to be infallible. 
What are the geometrical laws whose essence 
seems eternal? Laws of agreement. The me- 
chanical principles, those fundamental bases of 
our philosophy of nature, possess no more value 
than the geometrical postulates. Probability 
forms a portion of all the physical sciences, as 
agreement forms the basis of the mathematical 

XVIII. It requires a special mentality to give 
ourselves up to recriminations or fits of despair 
because Nature refuses to bend to our laws, the 
laws in which we desire to chain her. When ex- 
perience deals a blow to one of the laws thus 
conceived, we modify, complete, or abandon the 

Optimism and Pessimism 97 

law in question. And, while doing so, we do not 
forget that the law, thus reshaped, is nourished 
by the substance of the science of the past, as the 
future one will be nourished by the science of the 
present. Science endures, like the famous session 
of the Chamber of Deputies, which did not cease 
for an instant after the anarchist outrage. Science 
continues and develops. In this incessant march 
toward truth, which she ever approaches more 
closely, but which, perhaps, she will never succeed 
in possessing entirely, she collects her powers. The 
human race also draws from it confidence in her. 
This conflict is beautiful, fertile, and profitable. 
Yet, while the combatants and the spectators 
rejoice and profit by this magnificent spectacle, 
the pessimists continue morose and sad. Let 
us grieve for the pessimists. ' 

XIX. The progress of science, like industrial 
progress, leaves behind it numerous ruins. But 
on these ruins grows a sumptuous plant, which 

^ Paul Bourget, in his Essais de Psychologie, even anticipates 
the fatal moment when "in the presence of the final bankruptcy 
of scientific knowledge, many souls will fall into a state of despair 
akin to that which would have seized Pascal, if he had been de- 
prived of faith. Tragical rebellions whose equal no age has ever 
known, will then burst forth." 

Bourget proclaimed the failure of science before F. Brunetiere, 
but both had numerous predecessors, and doubtless will not lack 
saddened and disabled followers. 

98 XHe Science of Happiness 

covers the whole dreary surface with its young 
and beautiful clusters of flowers. Looking at it, 
we begin to hope and instinctively smile' at this 
more and more animated expression of the unity 
of nature, of the unity of her principles, replacing 
the infinite confusion of laws and of buried 

For heat, the vibrating solar messenger, as 
the great poet-philosopher Sully- Prudhomme has 
sung, is an eternal source "of joy, of beauty, of 
energy, and of novelty."^ 

In proportion as we embrace more things, we 

* Sully-Prudhomme is considered pre-eminently the optimist- 
poet, the poet of life. Yes, he has sought to sing Happiness, and 
has created a poem magnificent in conception and inspiration. 
But his Happiness is, in essence, deceptive. Faustin and Stella 
enjoy a divine felicity, but very distant from us, in Paradise. 
Yet the plaints of earth do not cease to ascend to them, and they 
seek in vain for justice. When death restores the two lovers to 
that hell which Faustin still loves "for its fragile flowers," man 
has vanished from the world. The plants and animals have 
reconquered it; man is there no longer. 

My famous friend, some time before his death, spoke to me with 
pathetic emotion of his Happiness, which he believed to be secure 
from pessimistic thought. But how would he have sung the Woe 
of Earth, if Happiness, to develop or to triumph, had been obliged 
to depart? 

The poet's case is significant. He desired to glorify life, and he 
has made an apology for death. He is like a consumptive who 
believes he is smiling on life through his mysterious and invincible 
malady. Imbued with the pessimist disease, we draw poison 
from it, even when we intend to disseminate about us the joy of 

Optimism and Pessimism 99 

refer them to one source. Light, electricity, 
magnetism, are to us the manifestation of a single 
power. Yet, in the past, bodies were divided into 
gaseous, liquid, or soHd. We no longer think of 
this separation. The experiments of Andrew del 
Wals and so many others have demonstrated the 
continuity existing between these three conditions. 
The sciences intersect one another. Under the 
system of reciprocal penetration, they are ex- 
tending their frontiers. Sociology is becoming 
biological, as biology is becoming physiological, 
physiology embryogenic, or embryogeny ana- 

On the road of unity all the sciences meet, as do 
also all the principles which have been abandoned, 
denied, buried. 

XX. A scientific law is found to have been 
incorrect! Ten, one hundred laws are erroneous! 
A good thing! The balance, if any remains, is 
turned into the common hoard. For the disap- 
pearance of discrowned laws is only the triumph of 
a single law, one that is general and divine: the 
unity of nature Can we grieve because theoreti- 
cally we are moving toward the identity of forces 
or the sole force that is ruling and filHng life? 

Finally, what is to be said of the admirable 
applications of science? Science has transformed, 

100 TKe Science of Happiness 

and continues to transform, the world. Let us 
hope that it will understand how to render happier 
earth's principal tenant, man. 

The success of pessimism with the reader proves 
the immeasurable power of flattery. It also de- 
monstrates the exaggerated importance that man 
attributes to himself. According to James Sully, 
the pessimist presents man as a fettered Prome- 
theus, enduring tortures from the hand of a cruel 
Jupiter. And James Sully is right. This picture 
touches us. Pessimism slowly gains our confidence 
and our sympathy. The brain, flattered by the 
spectacle of the heroic tortures that have fallen to 
the lot of mortals, willingly lends its ear to the 
intoxicating melody of our suffering royalty. The 
success of the romantic extravagances is explained 
by the same reasons as that of the pessimist 

XXI. Would the world then be perfect? By 
no means. It is full of troubles. But for the 
latter, life would lose its greatest charms. The 
hope in and the labour for progress are the fairest 
jewels of our intellectual and moral crown. Ex- 
tinguish their lustre, and our fate will become des- 
perately sad. Without pain there is no pleasure. 
Without sorrow there is no happiness. Without 
imperfections there would be no perfect things. 

optimism and Pessimism loi 

One would need to possess the ingenuousness of 
Rathsherr Brockes to seek to prove in nine 
volumes that everything in the world is for the 
best. The German philosopher plunges into 
raptures over the divine goodness, for has he 
not found in the scientific culinary arrange- 
ment of portions of the goose, the best proof 
that nature acts solely for the pleasure and 
satisfaction of man? No, nothing is arranged 
with a view to our happiness. The great All 
does not heed it. Nevertheless, life is beautiful 
and good, in spite of, or, if you prefer, on account 
of, the exertions in the struggle which she imposes 
upon us. 

An accurate view of life is indispensable. I 
will add that dissatisfaction is the essential 
condition of progress. But between a methodical 
criticism and the pessimistic doctrine, there is the 
difference which separates the man joyously 
tilling his land from the one who disparages in 
advance the future harvest. His discouragement 
paralyses his own efforts and enfeebles those of 
others. The limits of rational criticism are easily 
recognised. If these are passed, the result is a 
scorn of exertion, weakness of will, a settled 
coquetry with "non-existence." 

This kind of sport, dangerous to individuals. 

102 TKe Science of Happiness 

becomes disastrous to numbers. It sows despair, 
and reaps death. 

XXII. Yet pessimism deserves some clemency. 
It must be expelled with caresses, as we drive 
away the nightmares of children For pessimism, 
in its essence, is juvenile. We usually fall into its 
nets before the maturity of the mind. Before 
scaling the mountain we see only the rocks that 
bar the way. Before grasping the serene aspect of 
life, we perceive only the little dark corners. Age 
and experience almost always tear away the black 
bandage which pessimism places before our eyes. 
*'To be pessimistic in feeling," said Goethe, "we 
must be young. ' ' This feeling was well-understood 
by Goethe, who in 1788 wrote' that he was not 
made for this world. Forty- two years later, he 
penned the touching confession (letter to Zelter), 
"I am happy. " He even wished, at this time, to 
live his life over again. Leopardi, Schopenhauer, 
and their fellows, converted somewhat late, fully 
agree with Goethe's opinion 

Many writers have died pessimists from not 
having reached the age of optimism. This should 
comfort the Werthers. The mere question of 
years often plays no part in it, but the wise ex- 
perience of life counts largely. 

^ Cahiers de Jeunesse. 

Optimism and Pessimism 103 

We must, in all cases, distinguish between ex- 
treme pessimism and the melancholy, the sadness, 
or the solemnity of thought. The latter only 
colour thought with soft tints, but pessimism 
changes its nature. Just as physical happiness 
is a blending of pleasures and pains, scientific and 
philosophical serenity is composed of bitterness, 
discouragement, hope, and triumphs. 

Without desiring to maintain with Priestley that 
the existence of the world will some day become 
akin to Paradise, we yet have the right to discount 
its future joyously. With the triumph of the 
theory of evolution, the boundaries of our perfecti- 
bility recede endlessly. Our existence promises 
to be longer and happier. Sociology, founded 
upon the exact sciences, makes us hope for a reform 
of the world in harmony with our boldest dreams. 

XXIII. Modern science has singularly humili- 
ated the pride of the pessimists. Their theory, 
she tells us, proceeds chiefly from their physiologi- 
cal inferiority. The ease or the difficulty of feel- 
ing pleasure, biology teaches, stands in direct 
relation to our organic functions. Normal life is 
easily imbued with agreeable sensations. Un- 
healthy organs, on the other hand, are refrac- 
tory. Whoever possesses health, enjoys its 
delights and its perfumes. Those who are ill 

104 TKe Science of Happiness 

gather from the flora of life only faded flowers 
and dead leaves. 

The curious experiments of Dr. Charles Fere 
prove that individuals who are well "present a 
potential maximum tension." 

Behind this technical law is concealed a whole 
world of facts and ideas. A well-balanced man 
is overflowing with life. He even adds from his 
own substance to the sensations received from 
without, and feels them in excess of their real 
importance. Degenerates, on the other hand, 
always feel less than the phenomena should call 
forth. Their powerlessness prevents them from 
placing themselves on the level of the external 
world. Ailing, they call the world to account 
because it does not harmonise with the lowering 
of their vitality. 

Among the abnormal individuals of all sorts 
from whom the professional pessimists are habitu- 
ally recruited, and the world, there is- the same 
interchange of views as between a fool and a 
man of intellect. The latter vainly repeats his 
thoughts. The fool can neither understand him 
nor enjoy the charms of his conversation. He will 
even invariably interpret him at cross purposes. 

The incorrect comprehension, or the mistaken 
interpretation of the sensations of pleasure, as 

Optimism and Pessimism 105 

well as the incapacity for feeling it intensely, un- 
doubtedly bears a large part in the extravagant 
pessimism of those who are disappointed in life. 
From the days of Buddha or Cakya-Mouni, 
passing through himdreds of schools, sects, or doc- 
trines to end with Schopenhauer or Hartmann, it 
is always pleasure opposed to pain that constantly 
furnishes the arguments necessary to demonetise 
life. Hegesias of Cyrene was perhaps the most 
sincere of all the detractors of human existence. 
He started with the supreme worship of pleasures 
and, by discovering their rarity, he openly upheld 
the benefits of suicide. His master, Aristippus, 
as well as all the hedonists, appeared to forget 
that behind pleasure there is deceit, and behind 
voluptuousness, disenchantment. The history of 
this school incarnates the misfortunes of human 
happiness, when the attempt is made to found it 
upon pleasures and enjoyments. And while cer- 
tain disciples of Aristippus, like Theodore, sought 
Happiness even in robbery and sacrilege, and were 
completely disappointed, Hegesias, having proved 
that the number of delights is less than the sources 
of pain, openly preached suicide. The prosperity 
of his fraternity of the dying compelled Ptolemy 
to close his school. Yet it decided nothing. 
The same result occurred in the case of all the 

io6 TKe Science of Happiness 

disciples of Aristippus, conscious or unconscious, 
who have succeeded one another in the philosophy 
and in the history of all the nations. 

Pleasure conceived as a simple enjoyment of 
life, can only cause fatal disappointments. The 
axis must be changed. Instead of basing pleasure 
exclusively upon the physiology of the senses, it 
must be associated chiefly with spiritual needs. 
The solidarity of human beings elevated to altru- 
ism; our moral perfection having become the 
purpose of existence; the broadening of our exis- 
tence, seeking to embrace all that deserves to be 
admired and loved, — what a vast and infinite 
field for pleasure, constantly renewed and never 
exhausted! Add to this the moral health of the 
soul and the physical health of the body. The 
scale of pleasures, thus enlarged, can respond to the 
widest and most refined demands on happiness. 

Whether it be a Hobbes with his principle of 
sensations as a criterion of happiness, a La Mettrie 
or a Buchner, reducing man to a simple mechani- 
cal expression, all offer behind their pleasures 
only the bitternesses which render existence 

But change the essence of pleasure. In pro- 
portion as this basis is elevated, the happiness 
which it is supposed to nourish and support 

Optimism and Pessimism 107 

broadens and manifests itself as more beautiful 
and more enduring. 

It is enough to compare the disillusion of Cyreni- 
anism, under all its forms, with the serenity of a 
Bentham or of John Stuart Mill, to understand 
how far the idea of pleasure itself, more and more 
purified and ennobled, might be reconciled with a 
happiness that would be stable and permanent 
for aU. 

The chief necessity is to make a breach between 
pleasure and luxiuy, its logical abuttal. For 
sadness, lassitude, and suffering are the three 
Fates who conceal themselves behind all voluptu- 
ousness. They deprive it of continuance and of 
the possibility of being completely satisfied. By 
covering with thick ashes a pleasure that has been 
experienced, the Fates do not even permit it to be 
prolonged by memory. Each pleasure thus bears 
within itself disappointment, discouragement, and 
death. We can adapt ourselves to their existence 
only by modifying their substance. Salt, a bene- 
ficial condiment, would kill us if it should become 
the sole aliment of the organism. It is the same 
with pleasure and voluptuousness, which disturb 
both our souls and our bodies. 

XXIV. Here is a pretty experiment that is 
easily performed. The suggestion is made to a 

io8 TKe Science of Happiness 

hypnotised woman that she cannot take a glass of 
champagne which is within her reach. She 
hesitates and feels embarrassed. By repeated 
movements she shows her intention of grasping 
the object of her desire. Then, finding it impossi- 
ble to accomplish her wish, she heaps insults upon 
the champagne, declaring it to be dirty, poison- 
ous, and obsolete. The wine inveighed against 
represents the world. Pessimism resembles this 
woman, who has lost the idea of the value and the 
advantages of the object that denies itself to her 
will and her comprehension. 



A — In the Kingdom of Envy 

I. The ingenuity of man is chiefly manifest 
when he confronts his distress. We see then what 
exceptional gifts our brains have scattered to 
increase and complicate sorrow. Like the divine 
Creator, man has formed a world out of nothing. 
It is in this way that Envy was born. 

What is Envy? Those who occasion it, as well 
as those who are its victims, are alike to be pitied. 
The himian race, usually so disunited, seems on 
this point to be one and indivisible. In all latitudes 
we observe the same phenomenon: each member 
of mankind would believe himself dishonoured if he 
did not provoke around him the bitterness of envy. 

The savages who perforate their noses in order 
to put ornaments in them, the Indians of the Ori- 
noco who, according to Humboldt, work for a 
fortnight to buy paint, the object of admiration 

of all their associates, the Africans in the escort 


no TKe Science of Happiness 

of Captain Speke who paraded in their goatskin 
cloaks in fine weather and hid them, though shiver- 
ing with cold, when the dampness and the water 
fell on their nude bodies, are so many prototypes 
of that passion for sowing envy which preys upon 
the noblest and the most degraded specimens of 
men and women. 

Our whole modern education is infected with 
the desire to appear, and not to be. Children are 
made to waste years of their lives in learning music, 
which they give up when they reach maturity, 
just as they are dressed like monkeys to attract 
the attention of the passers-by. These principles, 
inculcated in childhood, pursue us throughout our 
lives. Herbert Spencer says that men who would 
blush if they were taxed with ignorance concern- 
ing the fabulous labours of a demi-god, would not 
show the slightest shame in confessing that they 
do not know the location of the Eustachian tubes, 
the functions of the spinal marrow, or the normal 
number of pulsations. 

To display ourselves and to arouse envy! 
This desire haunts us from childhood, when it is 
inculcated. Later it increases and accompanies 
us to and even after death, under the form of 
mausoleums and tombs, intended to make those 
who survive us exclaim enviously. 

-Among tHe Unfortunate iii 

Leaders of nations or plain street-sweepers, 
politicians or philosophers, scholars or poets, 
financiers or aristocrats, great artists or ordinary- 
strolling players, great ladies or little seamstresses, 
women of serious or of light manners, all think 
solely of displaying insolently or discreetly their 
claims to envy. 

The author who relates the fabulous issues of his 
books; the lady of the great or the demi-world 
who boasts of her success with men ; the politician 
who dazzles our eyes with his influence, or the 
financier with his millions; the physician or the 
lawyer who proclaims the amount of his income, 
are all acting under the domination of the same 
motive which urges a snob to attract attention 
in the front boxes or in a magnificent automobile. 

The object in life for the majority of men and 
women is nothing but the desire to create along 
their path the worst of the moral deformities of 
man, envy. The means vary, but the motive 
always remains hopelessly the same. 

II. History proves that, in every age, envy 
has been the most detestable factor in the march 
of human affairs. It is found at the bottom of all 
the great social and political revolutions. It has 
created more suffering than poverty. 

If the dominant classes had been able to resist 

112 THe Science of Happiness 

the deceptive charms of envy, the progress of the 
world would have turned in a different direction. 

Those who take pleasure in creating envy 
cannot suspect its poisonous character. It humili- 
ates, lowers, and sours natures. Once implanted 
in the soul, it takes possession of it as ill weeds 
grow in uncultivated soil, and stifles in its passage 
the development of the good seeds. The feelings 
of justice, of benevolence, of sympathy, perish in 
their contact like verdure in the sweep of the desert 

Fatal to individual happiness, it is still more so 
to that of the community. For envy produces 
hatred which, in its turn, exasperates and paralyses 
the will. Moreover, it destroys all feeling of soli- 
darity. The social struggle often flows from the 
real distress of the poor, but it is almost always 
based upon the moral blindness of the rich. 

The greater portion of our defects spring from 
envy, which leads to falsehood in life. . It creates 
also falsehood of words and of thought. The wish 
to inspire envy prevents us from being natural. 
At its approach, kindness departs. Mutually 
attacked by its multifarious venoms, men act 
toward one another like poisonous plants. 

III. I once asked a famous psychologist, whose 
vocation consists in writing evil books, why he 

-Amon^ tHe Unfortunate 113 

boasted of his fictitious success, when the real was 
sufficient for his glory. 

"The potion of envy, which we make friends and 
enemies drink," he repHed, ''affords us delicious 

His colleagues, exasperated by his bragging, 
have succeeded, however, in diminishing his success 
and in ridiculing his fame. He is drinking the 
potion in his turn and he curses the fatal envy 
which, after having prompted him to pour poi- 
sons for others, now compels him to swallow them 

IV. Envy is a feeling of base essence. The 
fleeting satisfaction that it bestows recalls the 
delicious tingling caused by certain deleterious 
drinks. It begins with a kiss of vanity and ends 
with genuine unhappiness. It is dangerous to 
excite the wild beasts encountered along our way. 
It is still more dangerous to exasperate the wicked 
beast that slumbers in the lower depths of the 
human mind. 

Those who are corroded by envy should think 
of those who are beneath them. When our souls 
are base enough or weak enough to suffer from the 
happiness — which is often delusive — of others, 
we should seek consolation in thinking of the ill- 
fortune of those, often far more numerous, who are 

114 XKe Science of Happiness 

our inferiors. Our self-conceit always enables us 
to find these people. 

A pure and noble happiness borrows nothing 
from envy, quite the contrary. When encountered 
such happiness suffers from the meeting and even 
tries to hold aloof and never to cross envy's 
pathway. Delicate souls are wounded by the 
vicinity of evil. We should blush to provoke 
envy, as we would blush to diffuse an odour that 
is harmful to the health of our neighbours. 

Ordinary souls rejoice at seeing envy born and 
grow around them. The unreflecting provoke it 
thoughtlessly. Really superior natures, through 
calculation or kindness, strive to kill it in the 
germ. When, against their will, it is encountered, 
they endeavour, since its destruction is impossible, 
to soften its effects. 

V. The desire to occasion envy is a morbid 
one, a sort of ever-restless, never-satisfied neurosis. 
Those who can resist it are very rare. It appears 
under every form and affects every mind. Like 
the incorrigible coquette, who ends by looking in 
a fetching way at her own fingers, the vain 
person seeks to arouse envy among those who 
are dearest. 

The ancient Greeks often punished impious 
wishes. The famous Athenian orator, Demades, 

Aixiong tHe Unfort\inate 115 

had a man who sold funeral goods sentenced 
because his trade compelled him to desire the 
death of his fellow-citizens. 

If the question now was to punish all whose 
business consists in diffusing hatred, the cities, 
suburbs, and country would be depopulated. 

VI. A factory was in operation for half a 
century and had enriched two generations. The 
founder and his son lived amid their workmen 
without wounding their sensitive feeHngs, and 
concealed their luxury by indulging in it at a 
homestead far from the centre of their business 
activity. Their heir, forgetting the prudence of 
his predecessors, built a magnificent palace beside 
the factory. The envy of the poor workmen 
closely followed the erection of the splendid struc- 
ture. When the castle rose in the midst of the 
little houses, the evil feelings of the thousands of 
labourers filled the rich man's home. Alarmed, 
he then strove to turn aside their envy. But in 
vain. While comparing their life of poverty with 
the luxury of the manor, these simple souls were 
filled with an invincible rage, for it was caused by 
envy. Twice the factory was set on fire. Numer- 
ous strikes at last destroyed the long prosperity of 
the business. One day the factory closed its 
doors and the castle, deserted, spread desolation 

Ii6 THe Science of Happiness 

around its walls, on which might have been en- 
graved in black letters: Here lies Envy. 

VII. When we consider the care with which the 
Government creates and maintains envy, we might 
suppose that the point in question was a primordial 

The titles and the decorations which democratic 
governments themselves do not cease to multiply 
best prove how hard the human race toils to in- 
crease its troubles. This folly of the State is 
equalled only by that of "good society" or rich 
society, which amounts to the same thing. 

The latter ceaselessly complains of the hostility 
which comes to it from below and trembles at the 
threats of the god Demos. Yet it works solely 
to excite this hostility. From fear that the poor 
may be ignorant of the stupid use of the money 
of the rich, the latter proclaim it by every means 
at their disposal. A special news department 
undertakes to discuss their luxury. The smallest 
detail of their foolish or criminal egotism is re- 
peated in millions of copies. This special depart- 
ment has, moreover, become universal. All the 
papers have their society column. 

Envy thus flows in a brimming stream. Men 
and women, urged by the unconquerable desire 
of creating it, mutually hurl into each other's 


-A.inong tine Unfortxinate 117 

faces their relations, their country houses, their 
furniture, their horses, their automobiles, their 
teas, their dinners, their suppers, their lovers, 
their mistresses, their jewels. Young American 
women have displayed to reporters lace chemises, 
the cost of a single one of which would exceed the 
annual income of a working family of three persons. 

The same morbid desire for publicity has crossed 
the ocean. The spectacle of young girls, creatures 
of graciousness and kindness, exhibiting their 
sumptuous wedding outfits, to poison by envy the 
atmosphere of the city, no longer shocks any one. 

In this mad chase toward the multiplication of 
envy, we forget her younger sister, hate, but the 
latter, ever growing and threatening, closely 
follows her companion. 

VIII. One day, at a social reception, I had the 
misfortune of scandalising those who were present. 

"A naturalist, " I said to the ladies ghttering in 
all the brilliancy of their toilettes and their spark- 
ling jewels, "has just discovered a singular species 
of animal. Both males and females have only a 
single anxiety : to dazzle their neighbours. They 
make the most comical grimaces to show the 
superiority of their skin or of their muzzles. 
Intoxicated by these parade effects, some of them 
fall upon others, deahng numerous blows with 

Ii8 XHe Science of Happiness 

their paws. Wounded and bleeding, they repeat 
the same performance; for the dominant char- 
acteristic of this animal is its endeavour to make 
itself envied by its associates, even at the cost 
of the great sufferings which are constantly occa- 
sioned. So they spend their lives in gratifying 
their vanity and suffering for it afterward. " 

'' What is this animal's name? ' ' I was asked in 
a general chorus. 

"The society woman." 

IX. Old Hesiod has already described the 
overflow of envy among his countrymen. 

"The potter envies the potter, the artisan the 
artisan, the poor even those who are poor, the 
musician the musician, and the poet the poet." 

This evil is of such long standing that it appears 
almost innate. Yet let us not err concerning its 
character. It is an acquired evil. The child 
is not reached by its malign influence. The 
child is simple and natural. This is the explana- 
tion of the unutterable charm which certain little 
folks exert upon us. After having breathed the 
vicious atmosphere of the desire to appear, we are 
enraptured by the sincere manifestations of child- 
ish dispositions. Their charm, as well as the 
attraction of their manners, is doubtless attrib- 
utable to their naturalness. Pedagogy, the State, 

A.mong tKe Unfortxinate 119 

Society, do their best to uproot these natural 
virtues. Few are those who, by the power of will, 
succeed in resisting the faulty training. Few as 
they may be, their example proves the possibility 
of cure. It is at the same time Httle and much. 

Pedagogy some day will doubtless find that its 
duties are elsewhere. Instead of sowing envy, 
it ought to extirpate it from our souls. The task 
will not be easy. It will be necessary for pedagogy 
to reform its ideal, its programmes, its principles 
of emulation, its rewards. But the teacher who, in 
days to come, will be remunerated like an English 
judge and respected like a constitutional king, 
will be able to dispense with envy. He will 
eliminate from education the evil plant of which 
his own life will have been rid. 

Henceforth let us endeavour to cure ourselves. 
The effort required is trivial. It is a ticket 
in a lottery whose price is almost nothing, and yet 
is assured, as are all the other tickets, of drawing 
large rewards. 

To be rid of envy is almost the equivalent of 
being certain of happiness. 

X. Ausonius was one of the happiest of men. 
Greatly admired by his contemporaries, the most 
popular among the Gallo-Roman authors, he at- 
tained the reaHsation of all his dreams. Rich 

120 TKe Science of Happiness 

and highly esteemed, he profited by a robust old 
age, which he enjoyed a long time. Elevated to 
the prefecture of the Gauls and to the consulate, 
adulated by the literary men of the period and 
pampered by fate, he possessed good fortune to a 
degree rare among human beings: he was con- 
scious of his happiness. He could have desired 
nothing more. We are never rich enough, we are 
never famous enough, we never have enough tal- 
ent or genius. But Ausonius declared himself 
fully satisfied with his destiny. 

It is while reflecting on his father's life that the 
poet has succeeded in making for his own a 
philosophy imbued with a divine comprehension 
of existence. 

In his Ephemeris he utters these profound words 
of his father: "I have always thought that happi- 
ness consisted not in having everything that we 
desire, but in not desiring what fate has not be- 
stowed." Animated by this thought, Ausonius 
desired only the things within his reach. And all 
his life he asked of God only the "favour of having 
nothing to covet." He died happy, for he died 
free from envy, and envy resembles the Egyptian 
brigands, the Philetes, who embraced their vic- 
tims only to strangle them. 

XL The vain being whose life is spent in the 

-A.inon^ tKe Unfort\inate 121 

desire to astonish or to vex others, the person, 
in short, who Hves for the opinion of the world, 
ceases to control his own life. 

And admire this inconsistency of human beings : 
we blush because we have lost our hair and wear 
a wig, yet we consider it perfectly normal to lose 
our souls and to Hve in the soul of our neighbours, 
of our friends, or even of that of men to whom we 
are wholly indifferent. 

Why place our happiness outside of ourselves? 
Why confide our motives for living to the passing 
winds? Why seek our gratification in the annoy- 
ance and sorrow of others? 

We do not entrust money to the first person we 
meet, but we do confide to him the causes of our 
happiness. By making our joy in living depend 
upon the envy of others, we embark upon a very 
fragile boat. Its guidance escapes us and we are 
delivered over to chance, which is often cruel, 
almost always unjust. 

XII. The envy which is shown possesses only 
the very brief permanence of autumn clouds. 
It appears in a smiling guise and departs trans- 
formed into wrath, hatred, or vengeance. Almost 
always it becomes a desire to humiliate us in our 

Envy is the wound which we inflict upon the 

122 TKe Science of Happiness 

souls of others. It bleeds visibly or invisibly, 
but it always remains a hurt. Perhaps it appar- 
ently had a just cause in the period when we lived 
under the principle of universal warfare. But 
now, when we are establishing among the peoples 
good- will and mutual respect, envy seems to 
belong to a barbaric age, and, in any case, is stupid. 

In the desire to create envy around us, we confide 
the happiness of our ego to others, thereby re- 
nouncing the principles dearest to our hearts. 
We renounce our individual life. But by scorn- 
ing envy, by disdaining to propagate it about us, 
we enlarge our consciousness. Our intense life — 
and it alone is real — broadens. It does not de- 
pend upon the imagination of others; it is ours, 
thoroughly our own possession. 

Without envy, life will perhaps appear to us 
less happy, but in reality it will be far more so. 

B. — The Benefits of Sorrow 

I. On the pretext of pitying man, pessimism 
destroys his sources of joy. It contemplates 
doing him still more injury. Does it not pretend 
to remove sorrow? Yet without sorrow, there is 
no pleasure, no happiness. 

According to Schopenhauer, his masters, and his 

Among tKe Unfortxinate 123 

pupils, joy, being negative, is of little importance. 
Sorrow alone being positive, is the reality. 
According to pessimist dogmas, the happiest man 
is he who goes through life with the minimum of 
sorrov/s, and not he to whose lot have fallen the 
noblest, the keenest, the greatest joys. The 
scorners of gladness rely first upon Aristotle. 
Has not the great positivist said: "The wise man 
desires absence of sorrow and not pleasure" 
{Nikomachean Ethics)! They also depend upon 
Voltaire's affirming the exclusive reality of sor- 
row. The Stoics, the Cynics, millions of deluded 
philosophers and poets, hundreds of millions of 
Buddhists, vie with one another in claiming the 
reality of sorrow and the non-existence of pleasure, 
of gladness, and of enjoyments. 

And yet the earth does not cease revolving, and 
mortals do not cease enjoying its blessings. Yes, 
the earth turns and bears along in the same rush 
our pleasures, our joys, our sorrows, our sufferings. 
The positive or negative value of our sensations 
count for nothing. All form a portion of the same 
troop that accompanies life and lends it value. 

We scorn joys, and to an exaggerated degree 
calumniate sorrow. The latter is under the lash 
of a libel several millennia old. The report re- 
quires revision. The sufferings sorrow causes its 

124 XKe Science of Happiness 

elect deprives their judgment of all serenity, and 
also robs them of all impartiality. 

II. Can we condemn sorrow in its entirety? 
Must it be banished from human existence? The 
counter-proof is offered. There is a class of human 
beings who are immune from sorrow. These are 
idiots, fools, and a certain category of lunatics. 
They feel many pleasures and remain insensible 
to sorrow. A fixed smile on their lips bears wit- 
ness to the condition of their minds. They are 
sheltered from suffering. Are they happy? Or 
rather, who is the man of sound intelligence who 
would wish to accept their happiness? 

Here is another counter-proof. 

Science has placed within our reach the means 
of enjoying the kind of happiness so dear to 
pessimists. Suggestion affords a vaccine against 
physical or mental sorrow. Certain states of 
hypnosis permit us to be sensible only of bliss. 
Moral and physical stings no longer exert an in- 
fluence. Our impressionability to agreeable sen- 
sations remaining intact, we banish from our life 
positive sorrows. Are we any happier in conse- 
quence? Those who desire to make us believe 
so lack sincerity; for, if they are really convinced 
of the benefits which the absence of sorrow would 
procure, they need only secure their safety through 

Among tKe Unfort\inate 125 

suggestion. This salvation is very easy to attain. 
It is accessible to all. Psycho-physiology teaches 
us that as a rule only idiots and lunatics remain 
rebellious to hypnosis and suggestion. The nor- 
mal man, in certain conditions, invariably submits. 
Yet which of us would be willing to accept the 
happiness that is enjoyed by idiots, lunatics, or 
mediums in the state of hypnosis? 

Sorrow resembles the sufferings of maternity. 
Women imdoubtedly complain of them, yet they 
receive them with tenderness, and water them with 
tears of happiness. The suffering is blessed and 
ardently desired. By creating life, life finds it- 
self renovated. 

Sorrow is similar. We fear, we shun, we exe- 
crate its coming. Nevertheless it does come, and 
on arriving, it gives value to the joy of the past, 
as it will also to that of the future. Moreover, 
happiness and joy live only through and often 
within it. 

III. Like the ground which yields fruits only 
by being deeply stirred, our soul requires the 
intervention of sorrow in order to give its full 

Sorrow is the masculine, happiness is the fem- 
inine element. From their union spring thought, 
effort, energy, joy. 

126 THe Science of Happiness 

When we strike the balance of our past, we 
perceive to what share of the profits sorrow 
contributes. It ennobles the soul, it forces it to 
reflection. During the constant march toward the 
future, it serves as a stopping-place. It purifies 
the soul and plays the part of the mirror which 
reflects its faults, its sins, its negligences. Sor- 
row also serves as a school, shows the soul the 
mistakes in the path pursued and reveals new 
ones. Our conscience grows through trial, says 
popular wisdom, and, by chance, popular wisdom 
is right. 

Consult the select few. Look through the 
biographies of the great dead or question the 
great men of our own times. All will tell you of 
the beneficent part played by sorrow in the 
formation of their characters. In the tears shed 
over their own troubles or over the troubles of 
their fellow-creatures, we find almost always the 
source of progress, as we discover in the sensibility 
of the poets the source of poetry. 

IV. Nations are like individuals: they are 
spiritualised and made greater by sorrow. We 
have praised and continue to praise the superior 
intelligence of the Jewish race. But this superior- 
ity is due solely to the persecutions and to the 
sufferings of the past. Modem times, in granting 

A.xnong tKe Unfortunate 127 

to the Jews, in certain countries, equality of rights, 
have at the same time deprived them of their 
recognised superiority. The descendants of the 
privileged race are retrograding in our eyes. With 
the complete levelling of their social and political 
inequality, the sources of their exceptional gifts 
will dry up. 

Parties which have been in opposition to the 
Government, when once in power, lose their 
worth. They are great in persecution, in struggle, 
in suffering. The party ruling France at the 
present day only recalls the fate of all minorities 
which have replaced the sufferings and advantages 
of conflict with the moral and mental decline 
produced in time by triumph. 

The suffering of our ancestors, like their happi- 
ness and their joy, enters into the composition of 
our souls. It forms a portion of our spiritual, as 
it does of our physical, health. We suffer from 
the excesses or enjoy the temperance of our fore- 
fathers. In the depth or the ingenuity of the 
mind of the son, there is often a large share of 
the suffering of the father, as in the weakening of 
his mind we find the unconscious and easy life 
of his ancestors. 

Even the vegetable kingdom lives and is re- 
generated under the lash of suffering. Horti- 

128 THe Science of Happiness 

culturists torture severely the flowers, which 
forget this pain in their happy lives. Herbaceous 
plants are deprived of water, and deep incisions 
are made in the bark of fruit trees. Who has not 
witnessed the spectacle of exhuming and torturing 
the roots of apple and pear-trees? Our peasants, 
more simple-minded, hack barren trees with 
hatchets. Renovated by the suffering, the trees 
produce fruit, the plants blossom, and the vines 
are covered with grapes. 

We have said, and we do not cease to repeat it : 
evil is the condition of good, as sorrow is the 
condition of happiness. The origin of the most 
brilliant marvels of our civilisation is m.erely the 
desire to combat the annoyances of life. Writers 
who, in their love of paradoxes, have produced 
voluminous works to prove the virtues of the 
devil, of contagious diseases, or of famine, per- 
haps have not always been very far from the 

Sorrow, when it does not destroy, strengthens. 
Its excess, like that of joy, puts an end to life. It 
is beneficial that it should form one of the ele- 
ments of existence, but it must not be a substitute. 
It is like the poisons which, given in small doses, 
save the organism. To fortify the red globules 
of our blood, certain serums are injected. The 

Among tKe Unfort\inate 129 

dose must be regulated. Increase it, and you will 
destroy the supplies of life. 

To augment the fermentation of yeasts, fluorine 
of sodium is used. Put in too much, and the 
yeasts will be entirely destroyed. 

V. Christianity has always practised a sort 
of coquetry in regard to sorrow, a coquetry that 
is tender and touching. "Blessed are those who 
mourn," says the Gospel. But Christian sorrow 
has been too invading, too obstructing. It did 
not complete existence, but strove to take its 
place. Stifled in its embrace, earthly life was 
evaporating, leaving to the believers only the 
mirage of heaven. Besides, it was an adulterated 
suffering, nourished by divine ecstasy and the 
hope of celestial rewards. Suffering thus became 
a morbid joy. The martyrs shed tears of delight, 
the fruit of unutterable pleasures. So long as 
men sincerely believed in Paradise, this metamor- 
phosis of human sorrow into a divine bliss was 
possible. Modem scepticism, having blended with 
these celestial combinations, has destroyed their 
effect. Deprived of faith, Christian sorrow has 
ceased to smile upon its followers and, since this 
has become laical, other reasons are required to 
work the charm. Above all, other causes are 
necessary to justify its existence. 

130 TKe Science of Happiness 

Superficial minds libel sorrow. Unsettled pessi- 
mists render it ro^^al honours. But they banish 
it from the city and, with it, life. The truth is to 
be found between these strange apologists and the 
furious destroyers. Since life undertakes a lavish 
distribution of troubles, it would be superfluous 
to seek to facilitate its task. For heaven's sake, 
let us not increase the amount of suffering upon 
earth, far less create it needlessly. It exists, 
and will continue to exist. The philosopher 
should draw from it the best advantage. 

Let us not tremble in the presence of sorrow, 
for it rarely leaves us disarmed. The keenest 
anguish has only an ephemeral life. It is created 
by us, depends upon us, and lies within us. To be 
convinced of this fact, we need only see how sorrow 
acts. Some laugh at a blow to their vanity, others 
grieve over it. Financial losses cause terrible 
tremors in some of us, and leave others indifferent. 

VI. We identify erroneously physiological and 
psychological suffering, that of our body and that 
of our mind. The discovery of the nerves spe- 
cially affected by sorrow, the dolorific nerves, 
thanks principally to the labours of M. Frey, no 
longer permits this confusion.' 

' Here are some of the conclusions reached by M, Frey; 
There are two thresholds of the skin : one for the sensations of 
pressure, another for pain. The four cutaneous senses are re- 

Amon^ tKe Unfortunate 131 

And yet, there is a reciprocal and often decisive 
action of the phenomena of the mind upon those 
of the body. Moreover, as we have previously 
pointed out, the disenchantment and the sadness 
which degenerate into a sort of pessimistic melan- 
choly, are most frequently due to the diminution 
of the vital energy. And as pain and sorrow mark 
the diminution, the joy of living and the upspring- 
ing of happiness signify the increase of energy, the 
health of the organism. 

By using special instruments, such as the 
plethy sinograph of Hallion, the pneumograph of 
Marey, the sphygmometer of Cheron, and so 
many others which have come in fashion during 
these latter years, we have succeeded in proving 
experimentally that joy, sadness, and pain depend 
upon our energy. We feel pain when the energy 
of one of our faculties finds it impossible to move 
freely. In the contrary case we experience 
pleasure, joy. Joy, modem physiologists tell us, 
is the consciousness of the circulation, which is 
acting easily in the nervous centres. 

Let us observe more closely the birth of a physi- 
cal pain. When a man's arm is cut off, what 

duced to four categories of nervous, sensitive, etc., etc., 

See on this subject, among others, The Psycho-physiology of 
Pain, by Drs. Joteyko and Stefanovska. 

132 XHe Science of Happiness 

happens? The cells of the injured member can 
no longer exercise their function. Their energy 
is restrained and paralysed. The inflammations or 
attacks of fever serve as a way by which the de- 
ranged energy escapes. And the organism suffers 
in proportion to the greater violence of the injury. 
But let the accident be spread over a longer 
period of time, let the organism adapt itself to 
the change, let the energy of the cells shift during 
the interval, and the suffering will proportionally 

This is the reason why chronic diseases and the 
most radical, but extremely slow changes which 
take place in our organism, cause only slight 

The same rule applies in the moral domain. 

We must keep in reserve the power of our souls. 
Thanks to its influence, sufferings and sorrows 
assume salutary forms. These sorrows will cir- 
culate freely through our minds, like the sensations 
of physical pain that flow without suffering through 
the nervous centres. For moral or physical 
pangs can do nothing but retreat before the 
intense energy of our souls and of our bodies. 

VII. The belief in moral suffering existing in 
itself resembles the barbaric superstition relative 
to fire. Candid minds regard it as a quality 

Among tHe Unfort\inate 133 

inherent in wood or in coal. The same illusion of 
our senses which makes us believe in the sweetness 
hidden in each bit of sugar, or in the bitterness of 
quinine, inspires the idea that sadness and pain 
are found in the phenomena which precede them. 
Yet an examination of the physical pain which is 
most susceptible to analysis is sufficient to enable 
us to perceive our error. A blow from a club which 
will strike down a dog is scarcely felt by an ele- 
phant. The same operation which makes a 
person of sensitive intellect faint, leaves an idiot 
unmoved. The same light which blinds a dis- 
eased eye is pleasant to a sound one. Human 
flesh, an object of horror to civilised men, is the 
delight of cannibals. Certain vices which are 
repulsive and unimaginable to so many men, are 
the source of rapture in others. 

Consequently, pain, as well as pleasure, is to be 
found neither in the rays of the sun, nor in human 
flesh, nor in vice. They are within ourselves. 
The pedagogy of the will easily succeeds in in- 
creasing or diminishing their intensity. It will 
even reach the point of creating or destroying 
them, at the pleasure of its interests. 

The comprehension of certain sorrows would be 
equivalent to their diminution, if not to their 
destruction. Let us take the deepest, occasioned 

134 THe Science of Happiness 

by implacable death, and try to reason concerning 
them. Standing beside the tomb of a friend, we 
forget the moments spent together. Yet the 
sweet feelings bequeathed by the dead remain as 
an inviolable inheritance. We forget the past as a 
source of joys, to think only of the future, which 
is not always smiling. 

Spiritualists or realists do not remember that 
in their tears floats transparently a fierce selfish- 
ness. In the thought "what will become of us" 
after the affection is snatched away, there is no 
room for the departed. We forget his pains, his 
sufferings, his maladies, which have rendered the 
deliverance desirable to him, to think only of our 
own pleasures or injured interests. 

Let us broaden this observation and strive to 
make it enter our consciousness. Nor must we 
lose sight of the interests of those who have gone. 
Our softened egotism will then find means to 
solace the suffering of those who despair at the 
sight of those who are passing. And yet this is the 
greatest and the most irreparable of all our sorrows. 

VIII. Pain, in its essence, is eternal. It pursues 
because it is united with our happiness. It is the 
reverse of the medal of life. The question is not to 
know how to destroy it, but how to draw from it 
strength and beneficent instruction; for this as- 

Among tHe Unfortunate 


serted poison contains treasures of honey. Yet 
there must not be too much. The instinctive aim 
of the individual is to diminish the dose. This is 
also the object of progress in matters concerning 
the whole race. 

So let us be reconciled to sorrow. Without it, 
life would not be complete. It is a little Hke the 
Paschal lamb, which, according to the Bible, 
must be eaten with bitter herbs. What a deHght- 
ful intimation that, without bitterness, there is 
no joy. 

Pain is, moreover, our teacher of energy. Plea- 
sure enervates. Joy, long continued, exhausts 
us. Sorrow strengthens. It often acts Hke the 
shower-bath administered to neurasthenics. They 
shriek while receiving it, yet they emerge from 
it rejuvenated and regenerated. 

C. — Prejudice of Wealth 

I. The beHef in happiness through the posses- 
sion of riches resembles the tradition so widely 
diffused in the Middle Ages, of the icy caresses 
of the devil. All the women accused of witch- 
craft were of one mind in their confessions. The 
evenings spent with Beelzebub lacked charm. His 
embraces had a deadly chill. These complaints 

136 XHe Science of Happiness 

are heard from all who passed a night with Satan. 
He was handsome and irresistible, but his kisses 
froze them with terror. 

Wealth procures happiness, sincere souls de- 
clare, and they are believed. The affirmation 
is repeated as proof itself. All are convinced of 
it, as the women beloved by the devil were con- 
vinced of the chill of his kisses. 

II. The wisdom of the nations contains valu- 
able instruction concerning the futility of riches. 
Ancient thought and modern ideas agree on this 
point. — And the religions do not contradict the 
philosophers. The same sounds of the bell reach 
us from every direction. "Distrust wealth! Dis- 
trust a luxurious life." 

The wisest and most brilliant of kings, Solomon, 
a royal expert on the subject, he who, by his own 
confession, had undertaken to study the value of 
all things under the sun, thus sums up his ex- 
perience : 

^ "I gathered me also silver and gold and the 
peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces; 
I gat me men singers and women singers, and the 
delights of the sons of men. I had great posses- 
sions above all that were in Jerusalem before me. " 

And, after having weighed the happiness he had 

» Ecclesiastes, Chapter II: 8 and following. 

Among' tKe Unfortxinate 137 

obtained from his riches and his pleasures, the 
great Solomon perceived that all was vanity and 
vexation of spirit. 

Nature, a peerless teacher when we listen to and 
follow her commands, shows us that the heights 
of things endure most easily the vicissitudes of 
fate. Horace has eloquently translated this in 
his verses. "The lofty oak," he says, "is most 
frequently beaten by the storm; tall towers 
crumble with the greatest noise. And it is the 
peaks of the moimtains which are struck by the 

When literature desires to describe happy 
people, it withdraws them from the throng, de- 
prives them of great riches, great honours, great 
companies. It even wrests from them fame. The 
idyl, the poetic form which monopolises the happi- 
ness of its heroes, paints them in very humble 
conditions. Poverty suits its favourites, as beauty 
patches harmonise with certain faces. 

The voices of philosophers, prophets, or writers, 
from whatever direction they may come, from the 
North or from the South, from the West or from 
the East, echo with the same exasperating mono- 
tony: "Man, rely solely upon thyself. Neglect 
riches and enjoy the kingdom of thy own personal- 

' Feriuntque summos fulmina monies (Horace, Odes, I, ii, 10.) 

138 TKe Science of Happiness 

ity." Why is it that the instruction of the pro- 
phets, philosophers, poets, writers, and thinkers 
should have glided over the souls of human beings 
like water over rock? 

What Is Seen 

III. Poverty and humble life, we are told, 
narrow the intellect, which dwindles and disap- 
pears. Deprived of wide horizons, of the throngs 
of men, and the splendours of life, the intellect 
dies as do flowers in deserted gardens. 

What Is Not Seen 

A wasted life, which is the condition imposed 
by society, destroys the good qualities of man, and 
makes the evil ones triumph. His intelligence, it 
is true, sparkles with glaring colours, but its 
development is merely artificial, and resembles 
the double blossoms whose beauty is produced by 
the transformation of stamens into petals and 
which become sterile. 

IV. Seated at a round table once used by Louis 
XIV, in armchairs classed as among the most au- 
thentic of the ancient ones of Beauvais, surrounded 
by pictures of the masters of the Renaissance, we 

A.inong tHe Unfortvinate 139 

were talking together. The drawing-room we 
occupied is considered the handsomest and the 
most costly in Paris, and represents in itself the 
value of a small provincial city. My host, whose 
name stands for happiness and wealth, smiled 
mournfully when he heard my question: 

"Are you happy?" 

"Very happy in the opinion of others. But 
what constitutes happiness? If it is a series of 
pleasures and gratifications, I very rarely experience 
any of these. Everything yields or appears to 
yield before the power of our wealth. Disappoint- 
ments cause us annoyance as they do other people, 
but we are not delighted by success. The increase 
of our riches — for is it not said that we are constantly 
increasing them? — leaves us indifferent, for we well 
know their part in our happiness." 

"But the acquisition of these treasures of art 
for which all connoisseurs envy you?" 

"They undoubtedly afford intense delight — to 
the man who sells them to me. " 

Then, after a little hesitation, my host con- 
tinued : 

"There is one rare joy that very wealthy people 
experience almost never. It is labour crowned with 
success, a goal attained after the efforts of long 
years. We lack, in short, that which gives life 

140 XKe Science of Happiness 

its zest: its troubles, its difficulties. I do not 
mention the sorrows with which the playwrights 
and novelists load us, the impossibility of finding 
along our path of life disinterested feelings." 

** Is not your case exceptional?" 

"Look around me. See the members of my 
family, who are so generally envied. Examine 
their colourless existence, their hopeless melancholy, 
the lowering of their energy, and you will behold 
the wrong side of time-honoured wealth. " 

On that day I had the effrontery to pity the 
richest man in Paris. 

V. Life is dear to us. What is life without our 
personality? Yet one of the essential conditions 
of a broad existence is the abnegation of the 
individual treasure. 

When we no longer make our happiness depend 
upon our own will, we make it depend upon the will 
of others. Wealth bestows many fictitious plea- 
sures. On the other hand, it deprives us of the 
only real blessings which man can enjoy on earth : 
the independence of personality, and the free 
expansion of our Ego. 

The general belief maintains precisely the 
opposite — a mere optical illusion. We must 
distinguish between the abstract power of money 
and the use of wealth. Those who wish to enjoy 

Among' tHe Unfortvinate 


their fortune depend principally upon Society, 
where they exercise their functions as rich men. 
Their sovereignty resembles that of the constitu- 
tional deputies. Fleeting masters, their authority 
is composed of the good-will of those whom they 
command. They maintain themselves on the 
surface only by sacrificing everything which con- 
stitutes the real value of the man. They sacrifice 
the royalty of their minds to receive in exchange 
the vitiated incense of homage. And these pass 
by happiness. 

The feelings created by the inner life, which is 
the only one compatible with the simple life, are 
of a rarer, because purer, essence. 

From all the heights of human thought comes 
to us the same love of the secluded, modest life, 
the life of the mind, the life almost seeking soli- 
tude. "All those who have wished to enjoy on 
earth the heavenly Hfe," Giordano Bruno con- 
fesses, "have said with one voice: 'I fled, and 
have remained in solitude.'" La Bruyere even 
goes so far as to tell us that aU our misfortune 
proceeds from our inability to remain alone. 
There are small tempests, says Balzac,^ which 

'Le Cure de Tours . . . "Abb6 Troubert's hours flowed on 
rapturously, flitted by with thoughts as delightful, were ruffled 
by hopes and sorrows as profound as could be those of the ambi- 
tious aspirant, of the gambler, of the lover ..." 

142 THe Science of Happiness 

develop in souls as much passion as would be 
required to direct the greatest social interests. 

The life of Emily Bronte, which was spent in a 
little village isolated from the world, reflects 
more thought, energy, passion, and adventures 
than would have been required to animate and 
supply half a score of Octave Feuillet's or Paul 
Bourget's heroines. 

We ought to love solitude. We should then 
more ftdly realise the value of human individual- 
ity. Wealth would have less hold upon our 
imagination, and we should understand that the 
sacrifices which are often necessary to acquire it 
do not correspond with the advantages at its 
command. We should also comprehend that 
nature exacts too great a payment for the illusive 
advantages of fortune. We should regard wealth 
with less envy and its beneficiaries with more 
sympathy. The poor, when rid of envy, wotdd be 
as rich as the most opulent in the world. 

VI. The negroes, when emancipated from their 
long slavery, shed tears of love upon their ancient 

When we speak of destroying the worship of 
wealth, even those who have most to gain by it 
rebel angrily. I can see shocked economists and 
sociologists treat me as an ignoramus, even as an 

-Amon^ tKe Unfortiinate 143 

anarchist. But who, in our times, is not an 
economist? Yet certain very well-balanced socio- 
logists do not fear to denounce the homage lavished 
upon wealth as the principal source of the mal- 
practices of modern commerce. 

Herbert Spencer accuses the public who kneel 
before wealth, of being guilty of all the crimes 
committed by the merchants.' "You would 
have difficulty," he says, "in finding a man who 
would not treat with more civility a rascal clad 
in fine cloth than a knave in fustian. " 

Matters are growing worse. Society always 
treats with more respect a very wealthy thief 
than a very poor honest man. 

A reaction has become necessary. This struggle 
against the god Mammon offers chances of success. 
It is enough to see what the initiative of one man's 
energy has been able to accomplish in this direc- 
tion. President Roosevelt, by attacking dishonest 
milHonaires in a country where wealth takes the 
place of rank, of traditions, and of all other 
honours, has shown the fragility of its worship. 
When the crimes of the poor and of the rich shall 
be placed on the same level ; when indirect robbery 
and murder, often covered by the name of specu- 
lation or of monopoly, shall be compared with 

» First Principles: Commercial Morals. 

144 TKe Science of Happiness 

direct crimes, the religion of the god Million will 
be' humiliated to a degree from which it will be 
difficult to recover. 

VII. We no longer possess wealth. Wealth 
possesses us. Its impious and degrading worship 
has nothing in common with the respect due to its 
beneficent action. We should use a power without 
falling into idolatry. When wealth has again 
become a mere instrument, humanity will draw 
from it all that it is capable of bestowing. The 
point in question is not to despise money. We do 
not scorn any instrument, but we do without one 
which is not within our reach. In this conflict 
between happiness and human dignity on the one 
hand and money on the other, the victory will 
remain with the dignity of man. 

In proportion as the latter progresses — and it 
would be difficult to demonstrate that it alone 
should not progress — we shall understand how 
dishonouring it is to men to see themselves 
classed according to the number of coins assigned 

Who is the poor man? Who is the rich man? 
A multi-millionaire reduced to only a few millions 
would doubtless be very poor. A pauper unex- 
pectedly receiving a thousand-franc note would 
consider himself rich. Everything depends upon 

Among' tHe Unfortxjinate 145 

the angle at which we place ourselves to consider 
poverty or its antipode, wealth. 

The triteness of this thought is universally 
recognised. It has been voiced and repeated in 
every tone. We even take the trouble to recall 
it to friends who are in distress. Yet we lack the 
strength of soul to apply it to ourselves. We 
destroy our health by fretting because we do not 
have at our disposal all that the rich possess, and 
we add to regrets envy, which is like quenching 
thirst by eating salt. But what is the happiness 
of the rich, what is the happiness of the poor? 
We admire wealth, as Bengal light is often admired. 
Blinded, we do not even wait for the dying of the 
sparks, and we go away under the delusion of 
having seen a genuine fire of diamonds. 

But let us permit the spectacle to go on to the 
close. Let us consider the rich. Let us weigh 
the sum of their asserted happiness. Let us 
regard them without the blinding glare that wealth 
imparts. Let us observe, especially, the inhabit- 
ants of the countries of gold and gems. In what 
respect is their destiny better? 

Lucretius justly asked : ' ' Does the burning fever 
leave thy limbs more quickly when they writhe 
upon embroidered stuffs blazing with crimson, 
than when sleep must come upon the coarse couch 

146 XHe Science of Happiness 

of the common people?" And since neither 
treasures nor nobiHty, nor the glory of the diadem 
benefit the body, we must believe that these 
superfluous advantages are no less useless to the 

What a profound book yet remains to be written 
under the title : The Troubles of Wealth. 

The rich man is neither more intelligent, nor 
more virtuous, nor more healthy than the poor 
one. Nor is his chance of becoming famous 
greater than the poor man's. History even as- 
serts the contrary. The illustrious men, the great 
conquerors in science, literature, or politics are 
chiefly recruited among people in modest circum- 
stances. Apuleius justly says that all those who 
command our admiration by their glory have been 
nourished from the cradle by poverty . ' ' Poverty , ' ' 
he tells us, "in the early ages, has been seen found- 
ing cities, inventing arts, holding vice aloof, 
lavishing fame, deserving the eulogies of all the 
nations. We have beheld it in Greece become 
by turns justice in Aris tides, goodness in Phocion, 
courage in Epaminondas, wisdom in Socrates, 
eloquence in Homer. In Rome, it witnessed the 
beginning of the Roman empire." 

Serenity of mind is the condition of our happi- 
ness. Now, from this standpoint, "no one is 

Among tHe Unfortvinate 147 

more miserable than a rich man," says Bacon. 
"He has little to desire and much to fear." 
Health is the most appreciable of all our benefits. 
But, "if the rich man desires to keep well," 
remarks Sir Richard Temple, "he must live like a 
poor man." 

Everywhere and always poverty was the priv- 
ileged soil where grew the noblest and highest 
himian plants. Poets or scientists, artists or 
leaders of the peoples, all owe to it the most beau- 
tiful of the moral qualities which have created 
their personalities, maintained them, and made 
them triumph. 

VIII. Poverty must be distinguished from 
pauperism. The second begins with the privation 
of things necessary to existence, while the former, 
after all, is only the condition of modest living. 

The poverty which permits us to lead a free 
existence has nothing in common with the de- 
pressing yoke of pauperism. Their demarcation, 
theoretically impossible, is only the result of the 
concrete circumstances of life. Ordinarily a man 
who can feed and maintain his family and secure 
them the possibility of developing freely, is not a 
destitute person. Below this limit begins pauper- 
ism, one of the most serious anxieties of modern 
government. Absolute equality before the law 

148 THe Science of Happiness 

has, as its corollary, mitigated equality in life. 
The unfortunate strugglers must be assured the 
bread necessary for their bodies and the intellectual 
nourishment required for their souls. 

The emancipation of the destitute is forced upon 
and is sought in all countries. All men cannot 
be made rich. The poor will continue to exist. 
There will be poor men, because there will be rich 
ones. But we are poor only by comparison with 
those who have more than we possess. Absolute 
equality, perhaps, will never exist except in the 
brains of incorrigible Utopians or of demagogues 
jeering at their neighbours. 

The most certain thing is that, in the society 
of the future, with its obligatory pensions for the 
aged, the unemployed, and the infirm, with the 
free schools and the abolition of privileges, there 
will doubtless no longer be destitute persons in 
the true meaning of the word. The case of the 
poor, that is, of persons deprived of fortune, 
though having an assured living, will undoubtedly 
persist. But this poverty will no longer have the 
same severity. Above all, it will no longer have 
the stamp of organic infirmity which it possesses in 
our times. The definition of poor, so difficult from 
the material, is easy from the moral standpoint. 

Whoever desires things that are inaccessible 

-Among tKe Unfortunate 149 

is poor, whoever has all that he desires is rich. 
Therefore the richest man would be the one who 
wishes for nothing that he lacks. "Emilianus," 
cries a Roman writer, "if you want to make me a 
poor man, you must first prove my cupidity." 
For what is cupidity? Intense and multiple 
desire. But whoever desires much, lacks much, 
and thus becomes a man who is very poor and 
worthy of compassion, while the man who wants 
only what he can obtain, possesses rare opulence. 

To command inexhaustible resources is nothing. 
The important point is not to have desires that 
siu-pass our resources. 

A wealthy man told me, with deep sadness, of 
his shattered health, which no longer permitted 
him to enjoy the pleasures of the table. He was 
very much distressed. ''But think," I said to 
him, "of the enjoyment a glass of cool, pure 
water bestows. Put yourself frequently n a 
condition of extreme thirst and compare your 

A few months later I saw him again, and he 
admitted that the water of the poor, when we 
know how to enjoy it, is worth more than all the 
choice liquors of the wealthy. It is the same with 
all the objects of our covetousness. 

IX. I read one day a story that greatly 

150 XHe Science of Happiness 

impressed me. Crates, renowned among the 
principal citizens of Thebes for his wealth and his 
nobility, made a gift to the people of his entire 
riches. He preferred a simple staff to all his fruit 
trees ; he exchanged the most magnificent country 
houses for a wallet. Crates praised the latter in 
verses imitated from the passage in which Homer 
lauds the island of Crete : 

" Surrounded by this luxury and by these heaps of gold, 
I my wallet as my city and dearest treasure hold." 

How many like Crates do we not find in the history 
of all the nations? An anthology of the sensible 
people who, after having experienced the painful 
burden of wealth, have devoted it to the benefit 
of their fellow-citizens, would deserve to be pub- 
lished at the expense of a friend of humanity. 

Certain truths, however, are like temperature. 
We must become accustomed to them, otherwise 
we shall find them too far above or too far below 
our minds. There are some moral truths which 
appear almost inaccessible to man. Our will 
rejects them, reason condemns them, our hearts 
turn from them. Thus no one will consent to 
discuss the antinomy, which separates wealth 
and happiness. 

The possibility of such a discussion offends our 

A.mon^ tKe Unfortxinate 151 

good sense. The mistake lies in the erroneous 
suggestions which we have endured from childhood. 

X. The glittering happiness of the rich recalls 
the sumptuous appearance of certain plants. 
Covered with a riot of leaves, stems, tubers, shoots, 
they attract and charm our eyes. A superficial 
observer pauses before them, dazzled. His ignor- 
ance conceals from him the drawbacks of their 
existence. He does not know that they rarely 
blossom. Neither is he aware that when they do 
succeed in flowering, they do not produce seeds. 

The worship of wealth dates, probably, from the 
first modification which occurred in the means of 
exchange among the men of the Stone Age. 
Always revered, almost never opposed, wealth 
has among its most fervent worshippers many 
religions and their priests, the civil power and its 
upholders, soldiers, philosophers, and writers. 

There was a time in Rome and in ancient 
Egypt, when the philosophers, like the women of 
our day, took little dogs to walk, after having 
taught their mistresses contempt for wealth. . . . 
Doubtless their lessons did not change the face 
of affairs. 

The religion of gold is the oldest institution in the 
world. Its reign, a very permanent one, seems 
the most solid of them all. While every belief 

152 THe Science of Happiness 

has varied, the dogma of beneficial gold has re- 
mained immutable. Shall we ever succeed in 
changing it? I am sure of the fact. To doubt it, 
we should be compelled to admit that it constitutes 
an organic necessity of the body or of the soul. 
But the matter concerns only a superstition. 
We nourish it with our best resources and lavish 
upon it everything: strength, vitality, and mys- 
terious virtues. Cease feeding it, and it will 
cease to live. 

For a long period chemists confounded and 
studied under the same name of didymium, two 
different bodies, now known as neodymium and 

Perhaps at no very distant day, we shall separate 
in an equally decisive manner wealth and happiness. 

There are men bom and reared in opulence, as 
many plants are grown in a rich soil. The agave 
(mvipara), when cultivated in ground that is too 
fertile, produces only bulbs, but no seeds. Many 
plants perish under the influence of this apparent 
advantage. There are undoubtedly many rich 
people who suffer from the same fate. 

XL Each one of us possesses one source of 
unknown wealth: habit. This enables us to 
accommodate ourselves to everything, including 
ungratified necessities. 

Among tKe Unfortvinate 153 

But wealth is not a necessity. At most it is 
an irrational desire. 

Mankind often employs many centuries in 
acquiring essential truths. But conviction once 
attained, it strives to overtake lost time. The 
equality of men before the law is only a himdred 
years old, yet what has not been done in its name! 

It will be the same in the case of wealth as in 
the case of the declaration of the rights of man, or 
of the excesses of war. A day will come when the 
governments will put forth as many efforts to 
establish the reign of peace as they have done to 
maintain war. Then peace will triumph. A day 
will also come when we shall perceive all the evil 
which modem institutions are perpetrating to 
maintain the Vv^orship of wealth, and its worship 
will end. While awaiting this delightful moment, 
let us marvel at the means of domination which we 
lend to riches. 

From our earliest youth, the endeavour is made 
to bend our knees before the Golden Calf. Teach- 
ers show a sort of esteem for wealthy pupils. The 
poor ones can only imitate them. Newspapers 
and books laud rich men; novelists confer upon 
them the dignity of heroes, as the Government 
bestows titles of honour. The churches reserve 
privileged places, the places of benefactors, of 

154 TKe Science of Happiness 

demi-angels, if not of demi-gods. Women, nur- 
tured by the same suggestion, fall even more 
easily under the spell of their gilded charms. 
Wealth, thus flattered, diffuses in its turn an 
intoxicating fragrance. Its dazzling light con- 
ceals from us even its coarsest blemishes. In its 
behalf, we forget even the precepts of the Deca- 
logue. It purifies robbery and murder. The magic 
of the million renders riches invincible, for it 
crushes all resistance. As in the tale of the 
Chronicle of Nuremberg, we all seem dragged along 
by the Dance of Death. And, like those impious 
men and women of Darmstadt, we are all engulfed 
in the abyss which we open by our wild dance 
around the god Million. 

The ancient Egyptians gave to their deities 
the heads of animals. Our contemporaries often 
bestow upon gold-covered brutes the attributes 
of divinity. 

XII. Wealth is often only a word. There are 
people called rich who occupy toward their trea- 
sures the same position that a French beggar holds 
in regard to our immense national fortune. To 
enjoy life, the first necessity is to live ; to be rich, 
we must possess wealth. But we are frequently 
the slaves of wealth; we are its chattels, but the 
wealth is not ours. Few are the men who domi- 

Among tHe Unfortunate 155 

nate it, who dictate to it their laws, their orders, 
their wishes, in short, who are its possessors. 

The most intelligent among them frequently 
call to mind the magnificence of the embalmed 
body of Saint Charles Borromeo. According to 
Ruskin, the saint rests in the transept of the Milan 
cathedral. He holds a gold crozier and bears 
upon his breast an emerald cross of priceless value. 
But is Saint Borromeo rich? No, we shall be 
answered, for a dead body or a lifeless soul cannot 
possess wealth. How many are the rich whose 
souls are dead, and whose bodies are powerless 
to enjoy fortune! 

Xni. The evils caused by the worship of 
Mammon have never been estimated, perhaps 
because they are incalculable. In this deification 
of wealth we are deifying, like certain Pagans, 
the very gods who load us with their woes. 
Through both worlds a general complaint of the 
adulteration of foods is now ringing. Civilised 
nations are consuming adulterated products and 
lavish their esteem on the very ones that impair 
their health. Through the monopoly of articles 
of prime necessity, a conspiracy of speculators 
is striving to render these articles less accessible 
to the community. We feel the danger, but we 
do not cease admiring the evil-doers. 

156 THe Science of Happiness 

Must we then teach contempt for wealth? No. 
The abolition of its excessive worship will suffice. 
We should save, by the same opportunity, its 
numerous disciples and, above all, its innumerable 
victims. The latter adore and love it solely for 
itself. They waste their lives in imploring its 
favours and end with having sacrificed everything 
to it without often obtaining anything in return. 

If wealth were a deity conscious, in its cruelty, 
it could pursue no different course. It takes from 
its followers everything: efforts, time, mind, life, 
and in return gives to them only immoderate and 
insatiable longings. 

Let us imagine a Utopian school in which the 
endeavour would be to imbue young minds, not 
with contempt for wealth, but a sensible compre- 
hension of its merits. The pupils should be shown 
that wealth and happiness, as well as fame, great- 
ness of soul, or worth, are rarely found on the same 
path, and it should then be proved that goodness, 
the soul's inestimable treasure, will obtain for its 
possessor a happiness that wealth is not in a 
position to bestow. The pupils should also be 
taught that true wealth lies solely in spiritual 
independence. This renders us great and strong, 
and it is the only fortune which raises us above 
other men. Once obtained, it is no longer subject 

-A.inoTig tKe Unfortunate 157 

to the vicissitudes of vulgar wealth. With it, we 
dominate the rich and are dominated by no one. 
Thanks to it, we can satisfy our every desire, for, 
subjugated, our desires remain under our power. 
They come only when called by the voice of the 
soul, and the latter, in satisfying them, finds a 
celestial joy. 

Wealth makes us descend to the level of slaves. 
Never does it satisfy us. Like the ocean, it 
absorbs everything and restores nothing. It 
creates uneasiness, dissatisfaction, and gives to 
its elect an unquenchable thirst. 

Let us remain always in Utopia. Suppose that 
parents, in furtherance of the instruction of the 
teachers, constantly reiterate the same ideas. 
Who would dare to doubt that the young human 
beings, thus transformed, would not be better 
able to resist the malign influences of life? The 
worship of wealth, at the end of half a score of 
generations hardened against its solvent power, 
would cease to corrupt our souls. 


A, — Happiness through Goodness 

I. If a conscious principle had presided over 
the creation of man, it must have pursued this 
course of reasoning: 

"The feeble creature which, in developing, will 
become man, will be exposed to every peril. He 
will suffer from contact with his fellow-creatures. 
Envy and wickedness will cause him numberless 
pangs. In the struggle for life, the weak will be 
crushed by the strong. A prey to constant dis- 
couragements, man will lose faith in the future. 
He will need a companion to brighten his life with 
the softest rays. He needs a warm hearthstone 
to vivify his depressed mind.'* 

And man received, on this occasion, the gift 
of a beneficent power. 

The tireless partner of his joys and of his sorrows, 

this gift never abandons him. Child and adult, 

mature or aged man, all profit by its heavenly 


Happiness for -A.11 159 

action. Mankind owes to it the better portion of 
its past and of its present. Everything even 
leads to the beHef that the future will owe it still 
more than have former years. Yet we have never 
ceased to slander its deeds, to scoff at its motives, 
to ridicule its efforts. It should have left man. 
Abandoning him to his fate would have been only 
an act of justice. But it preferred to remain with 
him, for it is Goodness. 

11. We frequently resemble those tribes of 
Central Africa that pride themselves upon pos- 
sessing bits of broken glass, empty bottles, or 
articles of ordinary hardware. On the other 
hand, they set no value on priceless pieces of ivory 
or on precious stones. 

Accessible to all, Goodness, in its germ, exists 
in all men. Like the sun, it contains an inexhaust- 
ible energy. Like the sun, it shines for the entire 

It bestows royalty upon the humblest human 
being. Set in action, it adorns the soul in which 
it grows. It does more ; it revives all by whom it 
is obtained. 

When goodness takes possession of a heart, it 
makes it a queen of queens, but its sovereignty 
is discreet. It remains hidden, like that of all the 
best rulers. Yet to come within its reach is enough 

i6o THe Science of Happiness 

to make us feel the divine mercy which pervades 
the space in which it shines. 

In the midst of an icy night, the wearied trav- 
eller perceives a simple house. The light from its 
windows, the heat that comes from this abode 
of men, fills his heart with delight. A sense of 
comfort enters his soul, even before he could have 
approached the distant dwelling. 

He only surmises that he sees before him the 
refuge of goodness, and a joyous hope fills his heart. 

III. Genius visits rare beings. Wealth often 
chooses its elect as a gold coin falls imexpectedly 
on a dung-hill. Birth lavishes its privileges with 
the blindness of chance. Goodness alone extends 
its brotherly arms to every human being. It 
makes no distinction between the lofty and the 
lowly, between religions, sexes, ages, the poor or the 
rich, the men of talent or of genius. All may 
practise its worship. The most destitute or the 
most unfortunate man preserves the privilege 
of being good and of exercising goodness. It 
holds its followers, no matter whence they come, 
equally dear. 

IV. Miracle of miracles! We lavish goodness 
outside, and it increases within our souls. 

Lodged in the heart, goodness pervades it 
entirely. The soul, in its turn, then dispenses a 

Happiness for A.11 i6i 

fragrance of rare quality. The sight of goodness 
renders faces serene. It lavishes strength upon 
the weak, hope on the despairing. A little portion 
of goodness, like the bread of the Gospel, is enough 
to appease the hunger of a multitude. Acting 
like Providence, goodness creates much from 
nothing. The rays diffused by it, in returning to 
their source, bear the sweetness collected along the 
way. Thus we create blessing around us, and 
fill our own hearts with the divine essence. 

V. Genius needs to be admired. Talent re- 
quires to be recognised. Wealth desires to be 
envied, and also demands homage, the only token 
of its importance. Goodness exacts nothing from 
any one, finding its recompense in its own royalty. 

The question: "How to be happy" often re- 
solves itself into: how are we to exercise good- 
ness? Real happiness is the joy brought by the 
benefit on returning to the soul of the benefactor. 

True goodness remains conscious of itself. As 
lightning, however swift it may be, contains 
heat, the most spontaneous act of goodness bears 
portions of our hearts. This is its natural fire- 
side, and also the spring by which it is ennobled 
and purified. It gives it the sanction of its own 

Goodness which remains outside of our con- 

i62 XKe Science of Happiness 

science is only an act of unreflecting and irra- 
tional weakness. It marks the disorder and not 
the harmony of our souls. Like a well-regulated 
weapon, goodness does not flash without a cause. 
Exercised blindly, it may create some benefit, but 
its action also produces misfortune; it may aid 
the strong against the weak ; it abases the humble 
and passes suffering misery with indifference. 

Plutarch relates that the inhabitants of Asia 
Minor were reduced to slavery for the sole reason 
that they did not know how to say: No. A sad 
example of the effects of goodness through weak- 
ness. Goodness which is really worthy of the 
name is always sensible. 

VI. We say innate goodness, but it is chiefly 
acquired. It grows and perishes in our consciences. 
Divine in its beauty, goodness nevertheless remains 
human. It would be necessary to introduce it 
into souls where it is lacking, and it would require 
developing where it is only a germ. It would 
need directing toward worthy subjects, and it 
would also need to be turned away from things 
which would make it lose its dignity. A course of 
goodness in the high schools for the practice of 
youthful minds! The idea seems paradoxical. 
The paradox is often only a truth of the future. 
Let us wish it to triumph. Above all, let us wish 

Happiness for All 163 

that it may find enlightened masters working for 
the salvation, through goodness, of youthful souls. 

A Pestalozzi of goodness ! Perhaps this mysteri- 
ous being is growing up somewhere. He will guide 
and develop childish goodness as certain wise 
instructors understand how to direct toward 
beneficent destinies the sons of sovereigns who are 
confided to their charge. 

Some day courses of goodness will be established, 
whose lessons will have attractive foundations. 
Surrounded by irresistible charms, goodness will 
lead the souls of children through flowery paths. 
It will be, perhaps, the most charming of all the 
sciences of youth, and it will also be the most use- 
ful to its happiness and to that of the community. 

Thanks to it, the pupil would follow the most 
delightful paths of life. When, from the earliest 
childhood, their charms have been demonstrated 
to him, he will desire to follow them in later years. 
He will seek and will find in them the loftiest rea- 
sons for happiness. Emulation in the domain of 
goodness will be the most noble and the most 
fruitful of rivalries. 

How many subjects can be brought into these 
lectures upon goodness! They will be as varied 
as life itself. The art of obliging our neighbour 
would play the dominant part, but how many are 

l64 THe Science of Happiness 

the imperceptible shades in the way of rendering 
service! Gratitude, in its turn, presents infinite 
aspects. The fetters which bind men together 
have numerous Hnks. These lectures upon good- 
ness would bring out unity, charm, and beauty. 
By teaching us to know them, this section of the 
Science of Happiness will render them more widely 
known and loved. 

VII. Goodness draws after it love, as the sun 
brings fair weather. We love better those to 
whom we have rendered service, and we render 
service to those whom we love. 

Love is the flower that blossoms on the stem of 
goodness. These two virtues penetrate and com- 
plete each other. Their approach warms the little 
nooks and corners of our hearts. Under their in- 
fluence the evil seeds deposited there by life and 
heredity are transformed. Both, when remaining 
a long time in any soul, render it capable of sacri- 
fice, for what is sacrifice, except the expression of 
goodness and love? 

Closely united sisters, goodness and affection 
accompany each other. Both form one of the 
necessary conditions of happiness, which is en- 
nobled and broadened by their contact. They 
might be compared to two careful gardeners, who, 
like watchful keepers, drive away any mischievous 

Happiness for All 165 

birds from the precincts of our hearts, thus aiding 
in their complete development. 

We often encounter a happiness of vulgar essence 
which can dispense with their co-operation. We 
also find brambles and nettles which grow with- 
out any care. But where is the man who would 
not prefer the pretty flowers which ensnare our 

Goodness! Love! Happiness! delightful trin- 
ity ! Once realised, it never leaves the heart. The 
three entities composing it are interlinked with 
perfect art. One summons the other, and all 
three mutually support one another. 

VIII. In every age, Love has enjoyed royal 
homage. The mystics erect altars to it, and the 
sociologists see in it one of the bases of solidarity. 

Highly esteemed, it is nevertheless Httle prac- 
tised. We respect it as we do certain divinities. 
We bow while uttering their names, but we turn 
aside from their precepts. 

Philosophers, scientists, sociologists, priests, or 
politicians, men of thought or men of action, all 
laud the benefits of love. 

Catherine of Sienna has perhaps best summed up 
the virtue of loving. In her letter to the Lord of 
Milan, she says: *'Love, love, and remember that 
you have been loved before loving.'" 

l66 XHe Science of Happiness 

Entirely from the Gospel, Saint Augustine has 
drawn the conclusion of the unconquerable plea- 
sure obtained for us by love. *' We love to love, " 
he cried in his expressive language. Amabam 
amare. But Saint Augustine lived in his dreams, 
and took his visions for realities. 

No, we do not love to love, for we lack education 
in loving. People have preached the duty of 
loving, but they have forgotten to teach us its 
moral advantages, and especially its repercussion 
upon happiness. 

For to love means to live a multiple life. We 
come out of otuselves, but we return far richer 
than at the moment of departure. We re-enter 
our souls accompanied by delightful companions. 
The kindly affections on returning to our hearts, 
constitute a royal procession. Our ego is multi- 
plied, holds to existence with more ties, and 
existence is more closely united to us. 

There are affections which betray. What does 
that matter! Others come to replace these, for 
the heart, the hearthstone of love, attracts the 
affections as the hive attracts the bees. We are 
never victims of love and goodness, for no one can 
deprive us of the pleasure of having been good or of 
having loved. 

IX. We develop toward goodness, as we de- 

Happiness for All 167 

velop toward veracity. By a singular mirage, we 
believe the contrary. We are almost all con- 
vinced that the primitive peoples were more 
refractory to falsehood, and more devoted to 

And yet the history of falsehood through the 
ages constantly denies this belief. Above all, 
it proves that the legendary virtue of the idylHc 
days is hut a legend. 

Primitive or savage peoples, warlike or nomad 
tribes, have always had a marked partiality for 
deceit. The Greeks, whom we like to regard as 
the ideal type of the nations, had a very mitigated 
respect for sincerity. The gods deceive men and, 
moreover, deceive one another. The principal 
heroes of Homer lie like the financial prospectuses 
of our own times. The wise Ulysses is an incor- 
rigible teller of falsehoods. Pallas Athena gives 
us to understand that she loves him for that very 
reason. The other deities practise the same lax 
morality. Oaths are violated with extraordinary 
indifference. Men set little value on honesty, for 
the gods themselves favour liars. 

The Gospels, doubtless under the influence of 
the period, have not broken away from falsehood. 
In Genesis, the Lord reserves a wealth of indulgence 
for the lie of Isaac. In Kings, Jehovah has 

i68 THe Science of Happiness 

recourse to a false spirit to ruin Achab. Else- 
where God {Ezekiel) ingenuously confesses that 
he is going to deceive the prophets who are not 
according to his heart. 

Lastly, what shall be said of Jeremiah, who 
openly turns his back upon the truth? 

Later Saint Paul makes a confession which 
disconcerts us. God, he tells us, has drawn glory 
from falsehood. 

The governments of the Middle Ages often 
maintained themselves by falsehood. According 
to Salvien, the Franks regarded perjury as a mere 
oratorical form. Diplomatic science, up to these 
latter days, sought its powers and its abilities 
solely in stratagem. 

The progress which is denied nevertheless lowered, 
with the lapse of the ages, the reign of falsehood, even 
compelling mendacity to apologise to truth, which is 
gradually spreading more and more into the rela- 
tions between nation and nation. Scorned, false- 
hood shrinks and even denies that it is falsehood. 

The famous despatch of Ems, in which a diplo- 
mat of the fifteenth or the sixteenth century 
would have gloried, made the blood mount to the 
brow of a Bismarck. Was not the effort to mask 
the lie put forth on this occasion a sublime homage 
to honesty? 

Happiness for All 169 

Truth, more and more triumphant, draws in 
her train goodness. Both complete, and harmon- 
ise with, each other, as cunning and falsehood 
complete each other in wickedness. Social truth 
is only social goodness. The noblest of Homer's 
heroes does not give proof of as much provident 
kindness with respect to the aged as does the 
social aggregate of our own day. But individual 
and social goodness are mutually interlinked. One 
is immediate goodness ; the other is goodness at a 
distance. Both are translated in concrete acts. 
Both, thanks to their reciprocal support, grow 
equally in the atmosphere of truth. 

X. Affection renders the poorest human beings 
the equal of sovereigns. It assures us boundless 
power. We can love, even against the will of the 
object of our affection. The pleasure of loving, 
as well as its benefits, lies within ourselves. No one 
can deprive us of them for, inalienable, they are 
hidden in the depths of our individuality. 

It would be wrong to judge of the quality of 
wines without having tasted them. Who is the 
person who has practised goodness sufficiently 
to appreciate all its advantages and all its charms? 

Goodness and love furnish the most efficacious 
remedies for the troubles of life. They breathe 
upon pess'mism and disenchantment, and trans- 

170 TKe Science of Happiness 

form the latter into reasons for existence. Now, 
the reason for existence is the salvation of the soul. 
Sully Prudhomme was a man devoted to good- 
ness. Ill for twenty years, and a prey to super- 
human sufferings, he retained a touching sweetness 
of disposition. Pain furrowed deep lines in his 
face. Yet his gaze, reflecting the treasures of 
his soul, triumphed over all his bodily weaknesses. 
His eyes smiled. The great poet, who honoured 
me with his friendship, often talked of the vivify- 
ing power of Goodness. He spoke openly, lov- 
ingly, of the principle, while secretly and constantly 
cultivating its virtues. And as he had practised it, 
without discernment, toward all who approached 
him, he was frequently victimized. He had 
encoimtered both the wicked and the ungrateful. 
But he felt kindly toward all for having con- 
tributed to his supreme enjoyment. He was 
so imbued with goodness that he beheld it every- 
where, and it became to him Duty and Beauty. 
To scatter around him the treasures of his soul, 
without hope of heavenly reward or of earthly 
gratitude, became a divine joy. Goodness had 
become to him almost a luxury. The delights 
it had procured had set a heavenly impress upon 
his countenance, so ravaged by suffering. One 
day the poet was found dead, wearing the expres- 

Happiness for All 171 

sion of happiness peculiar to a man going forth 
under the guidance of Goodness. 

Goodness implies consciousness of the necessity 
of practising goodness; love, the imparting of 
this goodness to some one. Thus we proceed 
toward action. The imperious voice which en- 
joins goodness and love impels us toward the life 
which it fills and adorns for our use. Love and 
be good, ought to be enjoined upon the pessimists, 
and you will come to your senses after a time. 

XI. Science and modem life preach powerfully 
regarding the benefits of goodness, the sociological 
virtues of love. 

The salvation of the wealthy classes lies in a 
rightly understood solidarity. The prosperity of 
the poor is found in a rational development of the 
State. There is no longer any question of orders 
dictated by vaguely reHgious feeHngs. Their 
principles, wearied by long practice, no longer 
act. It is our thoroughly comprehended hap- 
piness which preaches and directs the exercise, 
on a large scale, of goodness and social love. 

Universal warfare, we may hope, will some day 
be replaced by universal love. Humanity is 
moving toward it, very slowly, no doubt, but it is 
infallibly moving in that direction. 

All the systems of contemporary morality find 

172 THe Science of Happiness 

their definite expression in the principle of Good- 
ness, which, among other things, includes solidarity 
and human perfectibility. Outside of the ideal 
of goodness, Fouillee says' we find only poor 
diminutives or succedaneums of morality. And 
the same philosopher deduces from it this precept 
of morality that is independent of time and envi- 
ronment : "Be good, with a view to universal good- 
ness, which would constitute universal happiness." 

Vainly do we scoff at goodness as the indis- 
pensable foundation of moral progress and the 
salvation of human beings. It is constantly en- 
larging and developing. It is increasing before 
our eyes, as it has grown through the centuries. 
Only, invisible, it is seen solely through goodness 
itself. We must be good to perceive its develop- 
ment and its blessings, as we must believe in God 
to see His activity on earth. 

XII. Have we become better? is asked on all 
sides. Like rehgions, the social sciences give a 
negative answer. The religions and the sciences 
are equally mistaken. While the former wrongly 
identify pity or credulity with goodness, the latter 
suffer themselves to be influenced too greatly by 
the deceptive statistics of crime. We may observe, 
per contra y the rising edifice of solidarity, which is 

' Morale des idees forces. 

Happiness for All I73 

chiefly constructed by the efforts of loving and 
beloved collectivity. Everywhere the same cry 
is raised : let us make sacrifices for a happier and 
better humanity. The number of those who die 
for this cause is constantly augmenting. And 
these martyrs are devoting themselves, not in the 
selfish interest of a heavenly reward, but in the 
name of the impersonal principle of the human 
race of the future. 

The physicians who brave death to enrich science 
with an undiscovered microbe ; the aeronauts who 
expose themselves to the most terrible accidents; 
the revolutionists who give their lives for the 
Society of the future; the workmen who, without 
any immediate necessity, join in the strike, are 
all labouring, in the main, solely for the benefit of 
generations which perhaps will exist only in their 
imagination. And what is this soHdarity, which 
produces the greatest sacrifices, if not ideal good- 
ness, intense goodness, emancipated from the 
narrow bonds of the unity of blood or of visible 
interests? Of what value are the patriotism and 
the virtue, often purely theatrical, of the great 
heroes of Greece, almost always fighting for the 
spectators, in comparison with the martyrs of 
the Russian revolution, who died in obscurity for 
the citizenship of the future? The goodness that 

174 THe Science of Happiness 

animates the latter is of a superior essence. Their 
death, we are told, is often barren. What does 
that matter? The uselessness of the sacrifice 
does not take an iota from its divine virtue. 

Social institutions tend more and more to dim- 
inish the wretchedness of the humiliated. They 
also tend to sow upon earth the happiness of all 
through all. Goodness takes possession of human 
beings. Conscious in some, instinctive in others, 
it acts under all circumstances. Rich or poor apply 
its principles under the form of forced taxes or vol- 
untary contributions. Its results tend to render 
earth more attractive and men perfect. Good- 
ness has ascended in rank. It is more complex 
and, for that very reason, more unheeded. Under 
the form of weakness of the soul or of instinctive 
emotions, we should be softened. Classified and 
in the position of a social duty, it remains indis- 
cernible. This does not prevent it from growing. 
The day is not distant when it will be understood 
that the best human being is the one who does 
the most good to his community. 

XIII. The teacher of my childhood, with whom 
I enjoy examining human affairs, laid his spectacles 
carefully on his desk, smiled pleasantly at me and 
continued : 

"The boat which was taking us toward the Cape 

Happiness for All 175 

of Good Hope touched at a little island. While 
the vessel was being unloaded I went ashore. The 
pleasant appearance of the country charmed me. 
The inhabitants we met on the way manifested a 
fraternal friendliness in their greetings, a touch of 
tenderness in their gaze. Every one welcomed 
the stranger with a kindly word. At last I stopped 
in front of a house where the prominent people 
in the village were assembled. Their conversation 
ceased for a moment. An old man welcomed me. 
I expressed my delight at finding myself among 
people who were contented with their lot." 

The old man nodded assent: 

"You may add," he said, "and very happy! 
We have lived thus for years imder the reign of a 
good sovereign whom we all worship. We owe to 
him the joy that fills our souls, for we owe to him 
the affection that colours our lives, the goodwill of 
our relations. Ah ! great heavens ! Why should n't 
we love him? He has destroyed envy among us. 
He has revealed to us the resources within our- 
selves. He has also taught us that love is the 
source of joys which fortune cannot purchase. 
We are happy without thinking of our happiness. 
Envy has no hold upon us. We are not bound to it 
and it does not dwell in our hearts. You will find 
among us neither false luxury, nor the desire to 

176 THe Science of Happiness 

lord it over our neighbours. And the longer we 
live under this monarch's government, the more we 
adore, love, and practise his laws." 

"What is the name of this sovereign?" I asked 
in delight. 

"Goodness," replied the kind old man. 

B, — The Affections as Sources of Happiness 
I.— The Family 

I. However dispossessed our life may be, there 

are always a few sweet bonds which unite us to 
our environment, bonds which are unforgettable 
and inestimable. They enlarge our "ego. " They 
relate it to the existence of others and prompt it to 
share their joys and sorrows. Family life doubt- 
less creates, with its joys, certain duties. The 
source of varied delights, it is often a source 
of annoyances, disappointments, sorrows. But 
when we compare what we owe to it, and what it 
has cost us, we readily understand that it is one 
of the greatest trumps in the struggle for happiness. 
It shields us with its benevolent protection, 
when, very young, we enter life defenceless. It 
rouses our courage in the struggle for existence. 
It sustains us in our misfortunes, and facilitates 

Happiness for All 177 

the accomplishment of our duty in living. The 
family also furnishes the first lesson in solidarity 
and sociabiHty. The affection and indulgence 
which serve as its foundations transform and 
maintain our ''ego" in the world of men, that 
enlargement of the family group. 

To family joys are opposed the fetters that 
weigh down existence. A family, it is said, is 
often only a group of members whose interests are 
frequently opposed. Escape, always difficult, 
often becomes even impossible. The obstacles to 
divorce bind the wife to the husband for life. The 
privileges granted even to unworthy parents 
often prevent their children from emancipating 
themselves from their guardianship before attain- 
ing majority. The father often finds himself 
compelled to toil for a bad wife. .He must support 
children who bring him sorrow. Fathers suffer 
through their sons ; daughters suffer through their 
mothers. These examples might be multiplied. 
We Hnger to look at these shadows, but suddenly 
a ray of simshine from the paradise of family life 
makes them vanish. Nothing under the sun is 
perfect. In deeds of goodness we find traces of 
evil, as in a soul succumbing to sins we discover 
some misimderstood virtues. But the abode of 
the just remains good, in spite of the weaknesses 

178 THe Science of Happiness 

displayed. The same is true of family life. By 
the side of its victims, humanity in the mass seeks 
and finds in it treasures of felicity. 

And precisely because humanity grasps more and 
more the beneficent virtues of family life, it is 
striving to perfect the family. Under every lati- 
tude the same cry is heard: let us improve the 
family organisation. 

Marriage is being reformed. We are endeavour- 
ing to perfect the relations between parents and 
children, and to establish ever stronger fraternal 
bonds between all the members of the family by 
introducing equality and liberty. Where poverty 
might have destroyed family affection, the govern- 
ment intervenes. It takes the sick and the aged 
under its charge; it comes to the aid of large 
families, and extends its protection to over- 
numerous children. No matter how opposite 
the various systems of government may be, mon- 
archies, autocracies, and democracies rival one 
another in zeal when the object in view is to create 
funds for old age, sickness, or free education. 

II. When mutual sympathy and love have 
replaced money and social advantages as the 
principal foundations of the marriage institution, 
when parents profit by the conquests of child- 
psychology, when the little ones are reared in the 

Happiness for A.11 I79 

sanctuary of love that the family of the future will 
become, the vexations incidental to the family will 
diminish. For, in family life, as well as in so many 
of the domains of our social activity, men are 
making the greatest efforts to have the right to 
misfortune. For instance, we feed children for 
years on falsehoods, and then require them to be 
upright men. 

How charming is the exclamation of Montaigne : 
"There is nothing so sweet as Httle French chil- 
dren; but they usually disappoint our hopes." And 
the great moralist, having raised the question, 
answers it with delicious ingenuity : ''I have heard 
people of good judgment say that the schools to 
which they are sent, which are numerous, exert 
this brutalising influence." Already! Yet we 
are understanding more and more that children 
have the same right to truth that their fathers 
have to liberty and equality. The joys which 
children obtain at the fireside we are striving to 
turn to the advantage of all the social structure. 
For the child is the incarnation of happiness. 
It proclaims and bestows this gift. ''It is joy 
wandering among us," as Victor Hugo says. A 
child is the augmentation of the Hfe of the parents. 
It enlarges our present and extends our future. 

Children, in addition to being the happiness of 

i8o XHe Science of Happiness 

their parents, also constitute the power of the 
State. Many nations have perished through the 
diminution of the birth-rate. The active competi- 
tion of modern governments, and especially their 
exaggerated mihtarism, render this problem more 
serious than ever to all peoples concerned for the 
future. Yet it has been noted that the birth-rate 
is in inverse proportion to culture. Within the 
frontiers of a country, the most ignorant and the 
poorest inhabitants, especially those who are 
affected by alcohol, multiply most rapidly. The 
intellectual citizens, on the other hand, have few 
children. These are undoubtedly carefully ob- 
served facts, but they are not inevitable laws. 
Science has not proved that intellectual, sober, or 
provident persons possess an inferior reproductive 
power. On the other hand, when we consider the 
reproductive force of man, who could give life to 
ten thousand individuals, while he is asked to offer 
the community only three or four, we perceive that 
the diminution of the birth-rate is intentional. A 
normal woman can give birth to from twelve to 
fifteen children without impairing her health. We 
should not forget, moreover, that "the sane and 
normal energy of women aspires to people the 
earth," according to the picturesque statement of 
Ellen Key. Then what is the cause or what are the 

Happiness for All i8i 

causes of the diminution of the birth-rate, so much 
to be regretted from the standpoint of the happi- 
ness of the family and of the prosperity of the 

Sometimes the man, sometimes the woman, 
sometimes both, refuse to perform this duty on 
which their happiness frequently depends. The 
motives are various. In making laws for the 
woman and the child, the modern government 
has forgotten the fate of the parents. The child 
and the woman were formerly sotuces of income 
to the father. of the family. Now, thanks to the 
laws limiting and regulating their labour, they are 
often a burden upon him. No doubt the child 
and the woman will never be sufficiently protected, 
but we must also think of the man who bears the 
expenses of these beneficent laws. A series of 
laws are imposed in favour of fathers of large 
families. Reduction of taxes, freedom from mili- 
tary service, pecuniary assistance, free schools 
and clothing, pensions granted to mothers in 
proportion to the number of their children, and a 
thousand other means must, and doubtless will, 
be utiHsed in order to create a premium on large 

Mothers fulfil a social function more advan- 
tageous than that of many officials. The rewards 

l82 TKe Science of Happiness 

and encouragements which should be lavished 
upon them should be regarded only as acts of 
justice and honesty toward beings whose burdens 
enable the State to realise its objects. An 
opposite policy should be applied to the rich. 
Taxes on inheritance should remove all sorts of 
privileges from an only child. The government 
will be able to take as an average the family of 
four children, and levy the same tax of succession 
on all families. 

These measures are conceivable only in countries 
like France, where the diminution of the popula- 
tion threatens to extinguish the vital forces of the 

Reformed fiscal policy will thus allow the 
amelioration of family life. 

III. From the top to the bottom of the social 
scale, there is to-day an outcry in which all join: 
let us make family life happier. The progress of 
ideas and of family life has doubtless made many 
of its foundations unstable. In our desire to per- 
fect and improve everything, we have broken some 
of the over-rusty springs. But, while discarding 
the principles that would have destroyed family 
life, we have not yet introduced all those which 
will make it live. Yet a scrutiny of the social 
horizon enables one to perceive messengers who 

Happiness for -A.11 183 

are the bearers of good news. Never, in any 
period, has so much soHcitude been shown for the 
future of the family. From every direction comes 
the appeal for union and happiness through this 
source. Even those who are accused of wishing 
to destroy it, are really only supporting another way 
of salvation. They would like to replace the auto- 
cracy of the father, based upon the respect imposed, 
by a union based upon love. They desire to have 
taken into the account respect for the human 
personality of all the members of the family group. 

How numerous are the opposing interests! 
But let us hope that they may be reconciled. 
A day will come when the contradictions which 
exist between the interests of the family and those 
of the government will be allayed by the ennoble- 
ment of character. The crisis through which 
family life is passing does not render its destruction 
inevitable. Quite the contrary. It is the best 
proof of the extreme interest which modem society 
attaches to the smallest details of this complex 
and vital problem. 

No, the family is not dying, but developing. 
In a forest, at the time when trees are pruned, 
the branches which lie on the ground give us the 
impression of endless disorder. But when the 
dead branches have been picked up, we see after 

184 TKe Science of liappiness 

a little these trees resuming their life with fresh 
youth and vigour. 

11. — Friendship, Native Country, Humanity 

I. The feeling of friendship makes us grow 
morally. Love, under all its forms, renders us 
better. The heart is ennobled in the yearning 
toward others. It might be said that it grows 
in proportion as love or friendship brings into 
it new objects of endearment. The more a 
heart is elevated, the better it feels the reflex 
of the services rendered, the affection poured 
forth outside. Crabbed minds hke to diffuse 
poison into the noble joys of friendship and 
love. To these feehngs of rare essence are op- 
posed commonplace friendships with their train 
of treacheries. We speak of feelings being 
exploited, of feehngs being feigned. We even 
utter the word dupe, so harsh to our self-love. 
All these recriminations rest upon a false basis. 
We forget to bring into these calculations the 
value of the joys experienced. In friendship, as 
well as in love, the question of real importance is 
the j oy we have derived from the f eelin g . We have 
been betrayed. What does that matter! No one 
can deprive us of the emotions we have enjoyed. 
The past is ours. It cannot be torn from our souls. 

Happiness for All 185 

Services rendered have never been paid by 
reciprocity! But we forget the pleasure experi- 
enced at the moment when it was possible for us 
to oblige the sister-soul. That is the supreme 
reward of the act. 

II. The ancients took into account the import- 
ance of friendship for the better operation of the 
government. According to Aristotle, friendship 
is even superior to justice for, "suppose," he 
tells us, ''that men are united by friendship, there 
would be no need of justice ; but supposing them to 
be just, there would still be need of friendship." 
According to Horace, nothing is comparable, 
in the judgment of the sage, to an agreeable friend. 
''Even the shadow of a friend," Menander sang, 
"renders man happy. " 

Montaigne, whose friendship for La Boetie was 
most touching, cries, in speaking of the man who 
was dearer to him than his glory and his life: 
"I would certainly have more wilHngly trusted 
myself to him than to myself." 

Montaigne also relates this pretty anecdote of 
classical friendship : 

Eudamidas, a Corinthian, had two friends, Charix- 
enus and Areteus. On his death -bed, being poor, 
Eudamidas made his will thus: 

"I bequeath to Areteus to feed and support my 

i86 THe Science of Happiness 

mother in her old age ; to Charixenus to arrange my 
daughter's marriage and to give her a dowry as large 
as he can furnish, and in case either of the two should 
die, I put in his place the survivor." 

One of the two men having died, Areteus 
fulfilled the legacy of his deceased friend. 

III. Coarse calculation, having become the 
basis of our actions, excluded through its establish- 
ment the highest joys. The deceptions which 
followed are all the more painful because we are 
the principal culprits. We have made a sacrifice of 
money or of troublesome deeds with a view to 
another service which was not rendered. It is 
as if we had purchased a security on the stock 
exchange with the expectation of a speedy rise. 
The advance did not take place. The business 
itself failed. The blundering speculator has only 
himself to blame. But what connection is there 
between this unsuccessful operation and the friend- 
ship or love which seek and find the profit in 
their own existence? They realise both their 
capital and the interests of their acts a hundred- 
fold in the very moment when they perform these. 

Such is the situation of the parents, friends, 
husbands and wives, children, lovers, with regard 
to the services rendered to the beings who were or 
are dear to their hearts. 

Happiness for A.11 187 

The disappointments caused by friendship or 
any other crushed affection are doubtless painful, 
but we forget the deHghts experienced during the 
continuance of the tie. 

IV. The admiration which we lavish on our 
neighbours is also a source of higher pleasures. 
There is something infinitely sweet in the flight 
of this feeling, rising toward beings whom we 
believe to be our superiors. We then live a double 
existence, above all, we live a higher life, wh ch 
bears us toward the summits of the ideal. One 
might almost speak of the delight of admiration. 
Happy are those who can maintain admiration 
in all its fulness. Those who thus feel it are often 
more to be envied than its beneficiaries. Yet a day 
may come when our admiration vanishes. We have 
bestowed it upon those who are unworthy. Let 
us console ourselves. No one can deprive us of 
the benefit of having admired, as no one can de- 
prive us of the joys stored in the depths of our 

V. The native country is only the enlargement 
of the family. The quality which gives to man a 
privileged position is precisely this faculty of 
going out of himself, of passing beyond his own 
narrow life to project it toward, and to mingle it 
with, the life of others. Kind nature has sur- 

l88 XKe Science of Happiness 

rounded the exercise of this privilege with all her 
cares. It is sweet to be loved, but it is also neces- 
sary to love. Man cannot live isolated. Com- 
pelled to lean upon others, he finds in this support 
the charm and the foundation of his own existence. 
What the family is to the child, the native country 
afterward becomes to the man. It is through 
the love we feel for our native land that we again 
find the higher pleasures of existence. 

We labour for our native country and we bene- 
fit by its intellectual and moral greatness. We 
profit by its language, its institutions, its laws, 
its protection, its thought. 

"Whoever should believe himself independent 
of others, in his affections, his thoughts, and his 
deeds," August Comte tells us, "could not even 
formulate such a blasphemy, without an instant 
contradiction, because his very language is not 
his own. "^ 

The same thought applies to all the elemen- 
tary ideas in the science of life. All that man 
possesses, all that benefits him, comes from others, 
and he enjoys these privileges, thanks to others* 

Patriotism, aware of its duties and of its pur- 
poses, is of recent birth. But from its very in- 

» System oj Positive Philosophy. 

Happiness for All 189 

ception, it has developed. Its essence is modified 
in conformity with the changes that are coming 
over modern Hfe. Spiteful and exclusive, dream- 
ing only of quarrelling, patriotism is growing 
more and more peaceful and anxious for human 
dignity. The patriotism of men of intellect and 
of heart invites fraternally the patriotism of their 
neighbours, all patriotisms, to rival one another 
in the domain of the conquests of labour and of 
opinion. After murderous wars, the peoples are 
understanding better and better the horrors of 
war, and the cruelties of conquests. The respect 
which labour inspires, as well as the increasing 
importance of labourers, will only strengthen 
international harmony . The leaders of the nations , 
and the nations themselves, publicly render hom- 
age to peace and demand her reign. Her decisive 
triumph is approaching, but is not yet a reality. 
There will doubtless be more wars, which are 
lying in wait for us, like the last flames of a dying 
fire. As those who provoke them will be barbari- 
ans, in comparison with those who will be obliged 
to endure them and to defend themselves, it is 
important to be strong, in order not to be sub- 
merged by this new invasion of the anti-humane 

General disarmament is an ideal which we shall 

190 TKe Science of Happiness 

not reach without still remaining for a long time 

The moral progress which is everywhere assert- 
ing itself also proceeds from the overturning of the 
ancient international practices, based upon lies, 
spoliation, and acts of brigandage. A rupture 
occurred between backward diplomacy and the 
peoples moving forward. This scission mani- 
fested itself chiefly during the last war of the 
Balkans. It is the honesty of the nations which, 
having profited by the immoral inclinations of 
diplomacy, saved us a European war. But, since 
diplomacy is no longer a career of caste, but is 
fully opened to all the social classes, it will, in 
its turn, be elevated. Renovated by the new 
moral currents which are appearing in every 
domain, it will understand better the advantages 
of virtue, and will end by realising the idea so 
eloquently expressed by Theodore Roosevelt ' that 
mankind possesses worth only through love. It 
is inadmissible that a nation could treat other 
nations differently from the manner in which an 
honest man treats other men. 

The more we love, the higher we rise in the 

^ Lecture delivered at the Sorbonne, April 24, 1910. 

Happiness for All 191 

human scale; faith and the ideal still remain the 
most powerful levers of progress and 6f happiness. 

I. If patriotism should vanish from the earth, 
it would need to be reborn. 

Religions are weakening, we are told — another 
reason for not diminishing the patrimony of the 
ideal, in which grow and flower the forces of life. 
Patriotism adorns our existence. It has procured 
and still procures for us the highest motives of 
living and acting. But there is patriotism and 

The patriotism of former times consisted chiefly 
in hatred of neighbouring nations, in the desire 
to humiliate, to conquer, or to destroy them. 
Human solidarity has suppressed these antiquated 
ideas. Modem patriotism leads us to love our 
own country fervently, without hating the country 
of our neighbours. We understand better and 
better that our own safety depends, not only on 
ourselves, but also on the people by whom we are 

Abstract thought and economical interests 
find themselves brought nearer, in spite of fron- 
tiers. For the genius of the foreigner gives us 
indescribable joys, as his material wealth secures 
us numberless delights and pleasures. We cannot 
imagine a living happily in the midst of 

192 TKe Science of Happiness 

unfortunates who are starving to death. Neither 
can a people prosper among nations reduced to 
poverty and slavery. 

In contributing to the moral and material 
greatness of the native country, we are working 
at the same time for mankind. For the happiness 
of all fatherlands is formed of the happiness of all 
their constituent elements. 

Patriotism thus conceived finds its sanction 
in the necessity of ensuring its triumph and its 
duration. When any country whatever strives 
to destroy international harmony, it is the duty 
and the right of the others to defend the nation 
that is threatened. International peace, the 
essential condition of happiness, can be founded 
only upon the mutual respect of the peoples and 
of their rights. Pacific evolution, with obligatory 
arbitration and other institutions of the same 
nature, has no other object, tacitly pursued, or 
loudly acknowledged. 

The march to the star often renders us giddy. 
Those who have attained it should not forget that 
the point in question is not to destroy fatherlands, 
but to bring them nearer to one another. So 
long as the law of justice does not reign between 

Happiness for All 


nation and nation as it is supposed to reign between 
man and man, the fatherland will remain the sole 
source whence flow the possibilities of our existence. 

Yet the fatherland is not always equally gentle 
and, especially, equally just toward all its children. 

Nothing under the sun is perfect! 

But it would be as senseless to set fire to a city 
because our house was not satisfactory in all 
respects, as to wish to destroy a fatherland, on 
the pretext that some of its citizens possessed 
greater privileges than others. To develop, we 
must live. In the present state of affairs, patriot- 
ism continues the essential food upon which the 
peoples live. From this arises the necessity for 
the army and armies, and the duty of each citizen, 
however humanitarian he may be, to contribute, 
not only to the moral and intellectual grandeur, 
but also to the material defence of his native land. 

We know what the State is; but what is the 

The fatherland is the commimity of moral and 

material interests which imite the inhabitants of a 

country, based, moreover, upon the desire to 

belong to the same native land. Lack of this 

desire makes a native of Alsace-Lorraine or a 

Pole of Posen not a patriotic German, just as an 

194 THe Science of Happiness 

inhabitant of Trentino is an Italian though an 
Austrian citizen. Often it is enough to be aware 
that we belong to a certain country and to col- 
laborate in its greatness, to be a genuine patriot. 
Under these conditions, a black or a yellow man, a 
Christian, a Jew, or a Pagan, but imbued with 
French ideas, becomes a French patriot, or pene- 
trated with American feelings, an American patriot. 

Along tradition undoubtedly gives great cohesion 
to the unity of aspirations and of feelings. But an 
enlightened conscience supplies the lack of time. 
And the conscience or, if the word is preferable, 
knowledge, is of greater value, in many cases, than 
the irrational voice of the vanished generations. 

It is the lack of comprehension that frequently 
facilitates and provokes the abandonment of the 
native land for a misty humanity or the class in- 
terest, no less vague, which we christen by the 
name of the fatherland of the toilers. Without an 
enlightened conscience, there can be no elevated 
patriotism. Conscience alone can lead us to the 
international fraternity founded upon the peaceful 
rivalry of human aspirations which will probably 
always remain differentiated by the conditions of 
the surrounding environment. 

Contestable and discussed elsewhere, the duty 
of being a patriot is manifesting itself especially in 

Happiness for A.11 195 

France and is becoming evident to every French- 

This arises from the fact that, in all the ages, the 
greatness of France has mingled with the progress 
of humanity. The genius of her history always 
made her wage war for the benefit of other peoples. 
Even the conception of mankind as the prolonga- 
tion of the fatherland is, pre-eminently, the work of 
the great Revolution. 

After the misfortunes of the Terrible Year, the 
beautiful humanitarian dreams underwent a visible 
decline. A second war disastrous to France would 
deal for ages a mortal blow to human solidarity. 

"If we sought to heap up," Michelet has said 
somewhere, "what each nation has from dis- 
interested motives expended in gold, in blood, and 
in efforts of every description for objects which 
could serve only the world at large, the pyramid 
of France would rise to the heavens. " 

That is why all the nations, great or small, 
aside from the mean calculations of diplomacy, 
desire a France that is strong within and without. 
Instinctively, they all share in the evolution of 
her life. The weaker and, perhaps for that very 
reason, the more sympathetic ones, loudly admit 
that they have two fatherlands, their own and 
France. The same thing occurs frequently, in 

196 XHe Science of Happiness 

Russia or in the South American repubHcs, that 
have only love for France, with so much ardour 
that it becomes touching. Patriotism, in its 
noble modem meaning, having nothing in common 
with hatred of the foreigner, or prejudice of race 
or religion, is assured of a long continuance. 

This is particularly true of French patriotism, 
the necessary refuge of all the humanitarians. 
It will perhaps survive all the others, provided 
France remains faithful to her historic genius, 
which has made her the first, because the best 
beloved, of the nations. 

II. Mankind is on a higher elevation than our 
native land. To attain its heights a very lofty 
soul is required, but, in the present condition of 
society, that elevation can be reached only through 
love for our native land. When we love our 
country intelligently and humanely, we also love 
the human family. Then we understand that 
human happiness depends on the great solidarity 
of human beings and tends toward the closer and 
closer unification of peoples, races, and creeds. 
Before reaching this Paradise, there is a long and 
toilsome road to traverse. "Let everything go!" 
cry those who are impulsive and impatient, "and 
move toward those heavenly regions." This 

Happiness for All 197 

haste entails numerous perils. We must not 
act as if the goal in view were already attained. 

In this march forward, the peoples resemble a 
gang of workmen engaged in felling a giant tree. 
If the ropes are loosed before the favourable 
moment, the tree falls back with all its weight and 
inflicts fatal injuries. A balloon is permitted to 
rise toward the heights only when it is sufficiently 
inflated and has power enough to maintain itself 
in the air. By acting otherwise, we should provoke 
an inevitable catastrophe, entailing, with the 
destruction of the aerostat, that of the passengers. 

It is the same with countries as with private 
property. Their destruction may figure in a dream 
of future humanity. But beware of those who 
would desire to destroy henceforth their beneficent 
forces, which are necessary to the progress of 

III. Happiness thus finds numberless benefits 
in the vast domain of the affections. Its frontiers, 
accessible to all, extend very far, offering a deHght- 
ful and hospitable shelter to all who desire to seek 
its refuge. All visitors receive the same welcome. 
Rich or poor, sovereign or slave, can draw the same 
amount of joys from family tenderness, friendship, 
or love. Doubtless special favours are reserved 
for refined sensibiHties. But, by dint of exercising 

198 XHe Science of Happiness 

afTectionate feelings, we all arrive at the same 
degree of perfection. The simple heart of a 
field-labourer can rise to heights of loving which 
are inaccessible to a prince of the intellect. For 
we improve while loving, and the sources of love 
are found within us all. 

C. — Active Life and Happiness 

I. There is something essentially divine in 
labour. It ennobles and elevates the soul and 
strengthens the body. It spreads around our 
"ego" like an atmosphere of satisfaction and 
serenity. Action, incarnated in movement, pre- 
sides over the fate of the world and the destiny 
of organised beings. The most eternal and the 
most permanent force in Space and in Time is 
the vibration of the atom which penetrates the 
great Universe. 

We all instinctively feel its deHghts. Apparently 
working for a goal more or less near at hand, as 
soon as it is attained, we thrust back its boundaries 
and continue our advance. Work is often like 
hunting. The product is of little importance, the 
essential thing is the activity which it imposes 
upon us. A source of forgetfulness of the anxieties 
of Hfe, it gives birth to the majority of its joys. 
Happiness without labour is as incomprehensible 

Happiness for All 199 

as life without movement. The forms of labour 
vary infinitely, but its principle constitutes a 
vital necessity, like sleep. Moreover, like the 
latter, it is imposed upon the entire world. Even 
idle people are compelled to have recourse to 
work, on pain of seeing their physical or intellectual 
powers perish. According to Aristotle {Nico- 
machean Ethics) pleasures themselves proceed 
solely from activity. Without putting vim into 
play, without activity, there is no enjoyment. 
"God has imposed upon us very severe trials on 
this earth, " Legouve has said, ''but He has created 
labour, the compensation for everything." To 
Voltaire, Hfe and action even appear identical. 
"Not to be occupied, and not to exist," he tells 
us, "amount to the same thing." And the philo- 
sopher is right. While inactive, we vegetate ; while 
active, we live. 

II. There has been too much insistence upon 
the necessity of labour, but not enough upon the 
pleasures it affords. "In the sweat of thy brow 
thou shalt earn thy bread, " remains like a menace 
suspended over our life. Its harshness terrifies 
us. Under the influence of this sad suggestion 
we have acquired a horror of work. We talk too 
much of the discomforts of toil. It is a little 
like a rose whose thorns alone are visible. 

200 TKe Science of Happiness 

No, Heaven has not decreed labour as a punish- 
ment. Rather is it an adornment, a luxury of life. 

Fatigued by work, we yearn for rest. But this 
rest, once gained, involves unutterable evils. 
Longevity, to which, wittingly or unwittingly, 
we all aspire, smiles only upon active people. 
The custom of retiring between the age of forty 
and fifty years is fatal to the small tradesman. 
All these men living on small incomes, who dream 
only of rest, usually die at the end of a certain 
time. Diseases waste and decimate them, and 
their intellect diminishes. Senility, with its train 
of attendant ills, soon follows. 

It is beneficial, as we grow old, to limit our 
activity; there is nothing more injurious than to 
relinquish it entirely. The great men of the 
English Government whose mode of life is known 
to us afford an instructive example. Up to the 
most advanced age, they do not cease to labour 
physically and mentally. The octogenarian Glad- 
stone, commenting on the Bible and sawing wood, 
is a stock example. One of my friends, a Minister 
under Queen Victoria, who has passed his eightieth 
birthday, has just sent me his first attempts at 
translating Shelley — into French verse. It is by 
reason of this ceaseless activity that their health 
is maintained robust until the fatal departure. 

Happiness for All 201 

III. Labour is as indispensable as food. But, 
like the latter, it requires selection and careful 
use. Excess is fatal. The unfortunate conditions 
under which labour is carried on cause fatal 
consequences. The entire social agitation of 
modem times aims, in the main, only to improve 
the conditions of labour, to render it more equi- 
table, but not to make it disappear from the world. 
Those who misunderstand the necessity of labour 
are ignorant of the elementary foundations of the 
operation of our organism. The definite object 
of social reform aspires in the main merely to 
improve the conditions of labour. Our individual 
happiness, as well as that of the community, is 
obtainable solely at this price. The society of 
the future, which will require labour from every 
one, will benefit chiefly the numerous wealthy 
persons who are the unfortunate victims of their 

Through the annulment, by the tax upon in- 
heritances, of the possibility of Hving upon the 
labour of their ancestors, the sons of the rich will be 
safeguarded from rotting morally and physically 
in a degrading idleness. For work is a genuine 
gift from heaven. Universally accessible, it be- 
comes a source of universal enjoyment. Optimism 
is active, pessimism is passive. The joy of life 

202 TKe Science of Happiness 

is a fruit that grows upon deeply tilled soil. Idlers 
should be pitied. Their dissatisfaction with life 
flows from their inaction, and this dissatisfaction 
develops into diseases which result from laziness. 
Society should treat idlers as Ulysses dealt with 
his unfortunate companions, the lotus-eaters. 
"He took them by force to the ships, in spite of 
their tears, and fastened them to the rowers* 
benches. And, seated in ranks, they struck with 
their oars the foaming sea." 

IV. Labour, provided it is never abandoned, 
leads to everything. Talent is only the fruit of 
perseverance. So everybody can have talent on 
condition of desiring it energetically and intelli- 
gently. According to Buffon, genius itself is 
only long-continued patience. Doubtless this 
statement is erroneous. There is something in 
genius which escapes our efforts and our will. 
We may console ourselves, however, by thinking 
that mankind owes far more to the persevering 
labour of the great and small talents, than to those 
rare meteors that have illumined, for very brief 
moments, the sky of its history. After all, many 
of the beneficent forces which we baptise with the 
name of genius were only great talents. But 
genius, like talent, cannot dispense with labour. 

The literary heritage bequeathed by Emile 

Happiness for A.11 203 

Zola is perfectly stupendous. His annual pro- 
duction, often reaching one thousand to twelve 
hundred printed pages, awakened the astonish- 
ment of his numerous friends. One day I asked 
him the secret of his surprising creation. 

"I write only three or four pages a day," he 
said, "but I produce them regularly. Multiply 
these by the number of days in the year, and 
the years of labour which we are in a condition 
to furnish, and you will have the secret of my 
production which, to so many people, appears 

V. But there are degrees of activity, as there 
are degrees of happiness. In the first place, there 
is the vain and sterile bustle which should not 
be confounded with sane, productive labour. 
There is work whose excessive burden or insanitary 
conditions exhaust the individual, and destroy 
his health. There is exclusively physical or ex- 
clusively mental labour. Both, carried to ex- 
tremes, are equally harmful to the integrity of our 
normal life. The important point is that work 
should be the beneficial corollary of our life, its 
supreme regulator. People working only with 
the brain must have physical exercise; manual 
labourers require intellectual exercise. 

The ideal of active life would be to harmonise 

204 XHe Science of Happiness 

better our special tastes and the mandates of 
our health. Fate does not often grant the attain- 
ment of this ideal just as it often denies us the 
ideal woman as a wife, or a fortune sufficient for 
our appetites. 

It is the part of the thinking and toiling man to 
correct the errors of destiny. He does not always 
succeed, but the efforts of his will often afford 
him almost as much happiness as his decisive 
triumph would obtain. Without joy in effort, 
without the various satisfactions which labour 
bestows under its eternal form of the struggle for 
existence, we should still be in the age of the stone 
broken by percussion. 

VI. Action is an element and a condition of 
happiness. Men should not be told according to 
the famous exclamation of Elizabeth Browning, 
of that fair day when all shall rest. Nay, the 
fairest day will be that when all men will labour 
in a rational way, according to their tastes and 
to the requirements of their health. The pur- 
pose of social progress is only to render labour 
obligatory upon the idlers, to lessen its burden 
upon the lowly, and to bring more order into 
disordered toil. The- happiness of individuals 
and of the community can only gain by this 

Happiness for All 205 

D. — Happiness Accessible to All 

I. Nature has always been calumniated. A 
systematic disparagement conceals from man its 
beauties and its benefits. We are all under an 
invincible inclination to slander its objects, to 
disfigure its course. Certain systems of morality, 
which should glorify it, only degrade it to the level 
of the ill-humour of mankind. Man, forgetful of 
the privileged part which he has been made to 
play in the progress of the world, has always shown 
himself ungrateful toward his destiny. Instead of 
thinking of the risks of the evolution which has 
placed him at the head of created beings, he does 
nothing but lament over his fate. Yet all that the 
gods had in their possession, they have relinquished 
in favour of men. Strength and intelligence, the 
domination and the comprehension of environ- 
ment, the adaptation to external conditions, how 
many divine gifts, including the mind, in which 
the deity itself is bom and vanishes ! Dissatisfied 
man constantly asks more; he asks chiefly the 

Does he not resemble the lucky gambler who, 
after breaking the bank, grumbles because it is 

II. Kind nature has permitted men to appro- 

2o6 TKe Science of Happiness 

priate for private use certain of her elements. 
We might say, however, that, solicitous for the 
happiness of the species, she has reserved for the 
advantage of all her essential benefits. Inalien- 
able and never alienated, these serve to benefit 
every human being, for all are equally dear to the 
eternal principle of matter. 

Wherever we turn our eyes, we find inexhaustible 
elements of happiness. We have only to will, and 
they are ours. 

Among their number are the Beauties of Nature. 
Let us but try to understand these. To do so we 
have only to love them. This is all nature asks to 
enable her to console, em'bellish, and strengthen 
our life. The source of lofty pleasures, she multi- 
pHes and places these within our reach. To idlers, 
she furnishes a pleasant pastime. We need only 
gaze, and the soul is filled with unutterable charms. 
To the toilers, and the wearied ones of life, she 
affords restorative relaxation; to all, the joy of 
living. Equally tender and beneficent to the 
entire world, she knows neither the privileges of 
birth nor of fortune. Those most abandoned by 
fate have the same right and the same possibility 
of warming and renewing themselves within her 
bosom. Mountain or sea, field or forest, all 
incarnate the infinite aspects of beauty, the causes 

Happiness for All 207 

of various joys. It would be difficult to enumerate 
the sources of pleasure which the contemplation 
of nature affords. They are innumerable: sun- 
rise and sunset, fair weather and rain, the moon 
witn its varied changes, sea and mountain, forest 
or plain, rivers or lakes, the clouded or the starry 
sky, azure or impenetrable space, the melancholy 
of the eternal passing of things which will never 
give the integral expression of their infinite aspects, 
their repercussions upon man, mysterious, fugitive, 
and indiscernible. 

Are not the mountains, the waves, and the sky 
a part of me and of my soul, as Manfred said?' 

For earth is full of Paradise. Insensate man 
persists in seeking it where there is no chance 
that it will be found. 

When, wearied by terrestrial landscapes, we 
raise our eyes toward the sky, what an illimitable 
spectacle of wealth and grandeur is presented to 
our admiration ! 

The clouds driven by the wind afford an infinite 
variety of forms of beauty, whose observation 
gives us pleasures of rare intensity. And what- 
ever the poverty of our life may be, whatever may 
be the latitude that shelters us, the view of the 

^ Are not the mountains, waves and skies a part 
Of me, and of my soul, as I of them? — Byron. 

2o8 XKe Science of Happiness 

heavens will be presented with the same freedom 
to every man and to every woman. 

We admire art, but we do not sufficiently admire 
nature. Yet is there a painter who is capable of 
rendering the innumerable shades of her beauty? 
There is not one, as there is no architect qualified 
to imitate her structures of unrivalled boldness, of 
grandeur surpassing our imagination, of an art 
more sublime than all the arts living or vanished. 
Before, beside, above, and below us, there are 
worlds of beauty, more vast and rich than those 
gathered in the most famous museums. 

III. Mankind is only a theatre offered to the 
eyes of human beings. Each one of us is at the 
same time actor and spectator. 

The part which we play often does not depend 
upon ourselves, but that of looking, judging, laugh- 
ing, applauding, hissing, filling our souls with 
ecstasy or bitterness, vibrating or suffering with 
the actors, constitutes our indestructible privilege, 
a privilege possessed in the same degree by the 
king and the farm-labourer and exercised accord- 
ing to the greatness of their souls. Whoever ac- 
customs himself to look around him creates sources 
of solid pleasure. Monarchs themselves confess 
that they are our subjects, — subjects of our reason- 
ing, of our judgment. We summon them before 

Happiness for All 209 

our minds, we admire or despise them, we applaud 
or hiss them. The most dreaded autocrats are 
thus transformed into prisoners whom we summon 
before the bar of our consideration. Vainly do 
they desire to rule, to humble us. We succeed 
through our reason in subjecting to our judgments 
our haughtiest masters. 

After having taken a seat at the performance of 
life, we have a right to listen to the finest, the most 
famous among the artists. We follow them in the 
smallest details of their career. In case of need, 
we abandon them, choosing at our pleasure more 
attractive actors. 

A delightful spectacle, which we attend or 
leave with absolute independence, a performance 
as changeful as the colour of the sky, never twice 
the same: enveloping, impressing, thrilHng! It 
presents itself in everything that is said and done. 
Does not the point in question principally concern 
human beings and ideas which touch us most 
closely: whom we love or abhor, whose triumph 
we desire or fear? 

IV. The progress of education and of the 
modem press have singularly enlarged the stage 
of life. The rarest, the most foreign, the most 
varied actors are thus introduced into the per- 
formiance presented to our curiosity. Our distant 

210 THe Science of Happiness 

ancestors were shut within the precincts of a 
narrow building which only the members of their 
tribe could enter. Gradually the widened edifice 
has served to shelter actors belonging to larger 
and larger groups. Now the entire world is 
contributing to make our individual life more 

We profit by certain pleasures, just as we derive 
benefit from sleep unconsciously. Vainly do they 
adorn existence and obtain for us unexpected de- 
lights. We ignore these pleasvres by not giving 
them our attention. But let us try to pause before 
the spectacle observed in a sort of lethargy. Let 
us reflect for an instant upon the varied pleasures 
which we obtain by reading a paper that publishes 
for our perusal the most curious facts, collected 
from every quarter of the globe. Moreover, if 
a phenomenon becomes especially interesting, the 
paper will take pains to present its most striking, 
most dramatic, most exciting sides. 

Seated in an arm-chair, we follow all the vicissi- 
tudes of the world- theatre. Unknown people 
are thus working in distant countries to arouse, to 
maintain, and to satisfy our curiosity. How many 
varied sensations, how many intense pleasures, 
how many noble and lofty thoughts spring up 
within us at the contact of this life of the human 

Happiness for All 21 1 

race presenting itself in a palace dazzling with 
light! Our pleasure increases in proportion as 
we grasp the meaning of this complex spectacle. 
What a source of joys, of pleasures, and of 
thoughts lies in the lives of other people which 
seem to be enacted for our diversion. 

To enjoy the sweetness of the open air, we need 
only think of the unpleasant consequences when 
it is foul. To grasp intelHgently the value of this 
human intimacy which the perfection of means of 
communication and of the printing-press bestows 
upon modern society, think what it would have 
meant to the great intellects of the past. Imagine 
Dante, Montaigne, or Shakespeare living under 
conditions making possible the ceaseless contact 
of mankind through space, sharing the festivals 
accessible to the humblest among us, and we shall 
better understand the worth and the interest of 
our surroundings. 

V. A fairy is visiting man. In her kindness, 
she offers him a remedy for isolation, lassitude of 
mind, the vexations of life. 

"Whenever you feel unhappy and need for- 
getfulness of your troubles; when, wounded by 
life, you desire a supreme comforter; when, har- 
assed by the dulness of your environment, you 
■ aspire to the society of a superior being ; when you 

212 TKe Science of Happiness 

desire to laugh or to weep over the miseries here 
below in company with a brother spirit, you have 
merely to take this mysterious talisman and who- 
ever you call will come at your summons. " 

The fairy, having thus spoken, gave to man the 

The book which, thanks to its modest price 
and the increasing number of libraries, has be- 
come as accessible as the newspaper, affords an 
inexhaustible source for augmenting the intensity 
of our existence! It is not the book of one coun- 
try, it is the book of every country which, re- 
sponding to the closer and closer bonds uniting 
the human intelligence, is presented to us. The 
supreme thought of all minds is thus lavished upon 
every man! We enjoy this privilege, as we enjoy 
the benefits of oxygen, and pay no heed. 

VI. Men are not very interesting. They 
resemble one another, we are told, like two leaves 
of the same tree. Observe them more closely, 
and you will learn that what we term similitude, 
is frequently the result of our ignorance of things. 

When we think that fifteen persons can be 
seated around a table in i ,350 thousand milHons of 
ways, it becomes more than paradoxical to talk 
about the uniformity of men. 

Because blindness prevents us from seeing all 

Happiness for A.11 213 

that there is to see of the external world, it should 
not be inferred that the latter has vanished. 

Men, with their physiological and intellectual 
varieties, should present myriads and myriads 
of dissimilar beings. 

What is more agitating than a human life which 
is developing in our immediate vicinity? There 
can be nothing more dramatic than the human 
groups which, above and below us, are struggling 
against their destinies ! 

VII. Fatigued by the drama of men, we have 
before us that of the animals. What a harvest 
of vast sensations this domain also affords! We 
have ripened. In our enlarged comprehension of 
created beings we know the unity of soul that 
pervades Nature. It is no longer solely the schol- 
ars or the philosophers who proclaim this unity; 
the poets and novelists are also imbued with the 
idea. Balzac tells us that the Creator has used 
one and the same pattern for every organised 
being. The animals form a portion of the Infinite 
Spirit animating the universe. In contemplating 
and studying the inferior kindred of man, we feel 
a singular delight, which makes us descend into 
the lowest depths of the formation of our "ego." 
We thus glide to the eternally young source of 
aged humanity. 

214 XKe Science of Happiness 

Whether it is the dog, the cat, the horse, or 
mere insects with their infinite variations, observ- 
ing these affords treasures of enjoyment. Read 
again the touching chapters which lovers of the 
brute creation have devoted to their friends, the 
animals, and you will see, if you observe intelli- 
gently, to what an extent the life of a horse, a dog, 
a cat, a bird, is filled with thought, with duty, with 
joy, with love, all the attributes of the conscious 
life of man. The pages of Romanes, Lubbock, 
Darwin, or those of Magaud d'Aubusson reveal to 
us animals, birds, insects, rich in numberless 
attractions and endowed with an intelligence that 
is full of charm. Man thus discovers around 
him a series of groups living for his service, offering 
rare sensations to his soul, ever seeking something 
new, harmonious prospects which cast subtle rays 
upon the great shadow in which our future is lost. 

How many examples of tenderness and of prim- 
ordial virtues do we not encounter among the 
animals? The family affections, which we appre- 
ciate so highly in human beings, flourish equally 
among our inferior brothers. These animals 
even attain a degree of heroism. Whether mam- 
mals or fish, all offer us examples of the sublime 
love of parents for their offspring. 

Schweinfurth relates a curious incident of a 

Happiness for All 215 

female elephant, a typical incident in the animal 
world. Hunters, to capture her, set fire to the 
jungle. The anxious mother tried to save her 
little ones from the approaching fire. Constantly- 
drawing water into her trunk, she threw it over 
the baby elephants; she covered them with her 
own body and uttered cries of despair when her 
efforts became futile. 

Seel@y, Cuvier, Lacepede, and Valenciennes 
found similar virtues among the fish. The chromis, 
nicknamed paterfamilias, shelters the fertilised 
eggs in his jaws. Among the amphibia and the 
reptiles, if the female is the guardian of the eggs, 
the male is their defender. As for birds, Toussenel 
affirms, they have the sentiment of family and 
paternity more strongly implanted than has even 
man. Two species of paroquets do not survive 
their husbands. Who of us has not witnessed 
the heart-rending sorrow which seizes upon turtle- 
doves that have lost their mates? 

Monogamy, so much admired among men, and 
so rarely practised, is found far more frequently 
among the animals. Darwin affirms that he has 
never observed cases of polygamy among the 
rodents or the ins'ectivora. Even the common 
rats, whose reputation is so bad, have, according 
to many naturalists, only one companion. And 

2i6 THe Science of Happiness 

if the lions give themselves up to polygamy, they 
are the only ones to practise it in the family of the 

Birds, ordinarily monogamous, become poly- 
gamous only when domesticated. This is also the 
case with ducks or wild geese, that afterward 
live in captivity. It is the rearing and domesti- 
cation of animals practised by man that turn 
them aside from their family virtues. 

Lastly, what is to be said of the intelligence of 
animals! How charming is that quip of La 
Mettrie, asserting that "if the brutes could talk, 
they would prove that there is no bigger fool 
than the human being. May they have the 
inclination to keep silent!" But they do not 
speak. Yet who knows what the future has in 
store for us? 

The animals, according to Haeckel, are in the 
position of deaf-mutes who are imable to articulate 
their cries on account of an imperfection of their 
vocal cords. 

But since we know how to make these deaf- 
mutes speak, perhaps we shall succeed in edu- 
cating also the animals. Then what a revolution 
there will be in the relations between organised 
beings ! 

The miracles wrought by the sciences render 

Happiness for All 217 

this hypothesis plausible. But while awaiting 
its realisation, which will require a few dozens 
of centuries or of years, let us console ourselves 
by thinking of the infinite testimonials with which 
we are furnished by the relative observations of the 
affectionate and intellectual life of our inferior 

The world of plants and flowers ! Do we know 
any delight more unusual than that which beauti- 
ful flowers afford to him who has learned to love 
them? How true is the page of La Bruyere about 
the man who is satisfied with his day because he 
has seen beautiful ttdips, or concerning the happy 
mortal who possesses a rare variety of plums! 

These flowers, at which we glance with an ab- 
sent eye, enshrine numberless and endless mys- 
teries. The little withered rose which we fling 
to the winds is animated by problems of tremend- 
ous gravity. There are laws of floral architecture 
more exact and more implacable than those which 
govern our buildings. 

In the primary order, specialists tell us, the 
flower puts the five parts of a whorl upon a com- 
pact spiral, and this arrangement is made in such a 
manner that two turns of the spire receive the 
series of five parts. Plants developing under the 
influence of mathem.atical laws, what a world of 

2i8 THe Science of Happiness 

enigmas of which our ancestors were wholly 
ignorant ! 

We may add that they never had the opportunity 
to admire so many species of plants as we see in 
our days. The smallest garden plot of the work- 
ingman often contains more varieties, and more 
beautiful specimens, than the ancient gardens of 
the palace of Versailles. The modern man enjoys 
the plants more easily, loves them m. ore, and also 
understands them better. The plants to our 
comprehending eyes are animated with a new life. 
We understand and admire their sensitiveness, 
which is almost equal to that of the animals. In 
watching the smallest plant we see it stirred by the 
cares of life. The plasmodium of a mucilaginous 
mushroom, placed upon a wet paper, draws into 
itself at once if the dampness evaporates. Moisten 
the paper, and the cryptogam will return. It will 
even ascend several millimetres if a bit of board 
covered with gelatine is placed there. But wet 
a piece of paper with salted water and the mush- 
room will avoid it, as an animal turns away from a 
disagreeable or dangerous food. When we see 
the mimosas defending themselves from the rapa- 
city of herbivorous animals by folding back their 
leaves and simulating a dry, dead bush ; the pa- 
pillae of the Drosera seize as food the living insect ; 

Happiness for All 219 

the leaves of the Dionaea {muscipula) close for 
digestion when a bit of meat or egg is placed upon 
them, and remain open if a stone or a scrap of 
paper is put there, we feel moved by a sense of 
tenderness toward these mysterious existences 
blooming or fading around us. 

The artificial sleep to which plants are subjected 
and the forcing caused by this method, present 
numberless surprises to plant lovers, in the trans- 
formations produced in the vegetable world ! 

Under Francis I. France possessed about fifty 
varieties of apples, she now has several hundreds. 
It is the same with other fruits, vegetables, or 

Where will this multipHcity of forms and quali- 
ties end? Mendel has demonstrated that, with 
three kinds of sweet -peas, each possessing a special 
characteristic which distinguishes it from the two 
others, eight perfectly stable types may be created, 
and afterward, through successive hybridations, 
twenty-seven more or less unstable forms. With 
four specimens, we reach the large number of 
thirty -two and eighty ! 

We may add the spontaneous variations, such as 
Vries has formulated, and infinite horizons open 
for our delight. Have we not succeeded in alter- 
ing the perfume of flowers and the flavour of fruits, 

220 THe Science of Happiness 

as in the singular case of Sahlies, releasing the 
fragrance of magnolias, or producing apples with 
the taste of strawberries? 

Science, that worker of miracles, has reanimated 
the world of plants. In their beauty, long regarded 
as lifeless, it has recovered the soul of things. 
According to vegetable physiology, plants feel, 
act, and live. They even possess memory. 
Prudent, they work for the future. Notice a 
young plant that is placed between two sources 
of Hght. It will turn in the direction of the most 
intense, the most brilliant. And it stores the 
light it seeks, as man economises for days of need. 

The difference which separates plants from men is 
often that of degree, not of kind. Certain botan- 
ists treat them with tender solicitude, like sisters 
sleeping in infancy. 

Be kind to them, and sweetness will flow into 
your own soul. We need not possess a garden or 
trees to enjoy the pleasures of plant life. Nor is it 
necessary to possess a portion of the sky to enjoy 
its beauties. 

VIII. If we lack love for or interest in our 
fellow-beings or the humble brothers of our life, 
let us look within ourselves. What a rich spectacle 
of unexpected sensations! A world is hidden in 
each individual. We are not, as the ancients 

Happiness for All 221 

believed, a single and indivisible being. We are 
multiple beings. Man varies, it is said. It would 
be more accurate to say that men succeed each 
other within us. During the course of our exist- 
ence, numerous persons have lived and died in 
every one of us. The child that is born does not 
resemble the being that he will become in five or 
six years. The lad is unlike the child, as the 
youth is unlike the lad. The man of mature years 
differs from the adult, as the old man differs from 
the one of middle age. 

When, on the threshold of death, we cast a 
glance backward, we are astonished to see that 
our moral and intellectual life has been only a 
successive passage of beings bom within ourselves. 
They were dear to us, because they formed a 
portion of our successive personality. Never- 
theless, the spectacle of the simultaneous multi- 
plicity of our being impresses us least. In the 
presence of deeds and crystallised sensations, we 
forget the causes which have given them birth as, 
in naming a battle, we neglect the obscure heroes 
by whom it was fought. Yet our conscience, nay, 
even the guiding ideas of our life, are often the 
fruit of a competition between the various beings 
which constitute our "ego." 

We will not go as far as Claude Bernard. This 

222 TKe Science of Happiness 

scientist was convinced that each spinal nervous 
centre was the seat of the principle which feels, 
understands, moves, and wills. Our ego, conse- 
quently, would be composed of millions of psychic 
individualities, graded from the encephalic gan- 
glions and the elongated marrow to the lower end 
of the spinal tree. 

Let us be content with a few subconsciousnesses 
which He, think, suffer, and rejoice in the depths 
of our ego. 

IX. At the present day we know that there are 
within us at least two or three psychical beings. 
The name, frequently unattractive, by which they 
are christened, such as subliminary or second 
consciousness, is of small importance. These 
double, triple, or even quadruple beings — as 
certain psychologists admit — dwell within us, side 
by side. The desire to observe is enough to make 
their life burst forth before our eyes, luminous in 
its clearness and disturbing in its manifestations. 
Thus, in each one of us, different beings elbow 
each other. Their entirety forms our ego. It 
requires only a conflict of passions, an act of energy 
bringing contradictory motives into play, to 
enable us to perceive .these various beings rushing 
forward and taking part in the fray. The more 
the passions clash against our acquired morality, 

Happiness for All 223 

the more evident this inward battle becomes. 
One might think it a duel between beings of flesh 
and blood fighting over a coveted prize. In the 
presence of the passionate love inspired by the 
wife of a friend dear to our heart, our second self 
suddenly awakes. With eloquence generous in its 
impetuosity, this second self will show us the 
moral gulf to which our conduct is dragging us. 
Shocked and indignant at the wiles of our desire, 
it will not even hesitate to overwhelm its rival with 
the utmost contempt. Whether victor or van- 
quished, it will struggle and will do its duty. In- 
defatigable, it will resist for months the invading 
passion. Often, bruised and exhausted, it keeps 
silence. But it will make its presence felt by the 
remorse which it will not cease to lavish. As 
victor it will be gentle. It will surroimd our 
moral hesitations with its solicitude. It will 
emphasise the benefits of triumphant duty and 
will labour for the entire perfection of the being of 
which it is only a simple emanation. 

The ancient Guebers saw the principles of good 
and evil, their Ormuzd and Ahriman, without. 
We behold these multiplied and living within our- 

Try to observe the birth of the decisive actions 
of your life. Endeavour to surprise your passions 

224 XKe Science of Happiness 

red-handed in the act of inward strife, and you will 
readily perceive that behind the facts seen, there 
are facts more curious that are not seen. 

Few are those who feel within themselves the 
existence of these ''subliminal" beings. But 
how numerous are those who hear the voice of 
their conscience and obey its summons! 

X. We have within us certain dream com- 
panions. They are gay or sorrov/ful. They are 
commonplace or lofty in character. They are 
often in harmony with our tastes and with the 
condition of our soul. We need only associate and 
talk with these and we shall improve ourselves 
while perfecting them. The man who has learned 
to converse with these subconscious beings will 
have within his reach pleasures which the society 
of human personalities could rarely afford. 

The return into ourselves, the contemplation 
of our own ego, seems to constitute a part of the 
modern conscience. Follow the development of 
the Hterature of our day. Never, at any period, 
has our inner life played a similar part in letters. 
Whether it is the psychological, analytical, ro- 
mantic, or even historical romance, the author 
will always try to delve into the souls of his 
heroes. What impresses us in the classic authors 
is the implacable and violent action which drags 

Happiness for All 225 

along, as if in a mad dance, fatality and its victims. 

Analysis, so dear to our modern mentality, seeks 
to conquer wider and wider domains over uncon- 

The private journal and memoirs are at a pre- 
mium. What constitutes their interest, unless it 
is the windows that they open to us upon the soul 
and upon souls? 

To see with what eager curiosity we follow the 
lives of others and shun our own "ego," makes 
one think of a man who would desert his own chil- 
dren to interest himself in the fate of those who 
were strangers. 

XL The vv^orld overflows with complaints of 
the wickedness of man. Irony and distrust 
wound our sharpened, often even morbid, sensi- 
bility. Against the wounds of self-love, what 
shield is more efficacious than that of our inward 

In each one of us dwell what psychologists term 
our subconsciousnesses. Human negligence does 
not grant them even special names, which might 
facilitate the investigation of our "ego.*' The lat- 
ter should thus be taught to turn them to account. 
In case of moral anguish, the support of the chosen 
being, of the subconsciousness that is best suited 

to assuage our sorrows, would more easily calm 

226 THe Science of Happiness 

our apprehensions. For lack of a technical term, 

let us say simply consciousness No. i, No. 2, or 

No. 3. The name is a trivial matter. ' 

When I think of the internal colloquies between 

these subconsciousnesses, a sort of tender emotion 

takes possession of me. I see under these silent 

conflicts between two, or often three, entities 

equally dear to my being, the formation of the 

guiding principles of my life. You sm.ile, my friend. 

Laugh, if you choose, at the outbursts, but try 

this method notwithstanding. Enter your own 

personality. Try to witness, as a disinterested 

spectator, a battle between the passionate appeals 

of life, and your moral and religious principles. 

Listen to the voices of some, and the answers of 

the others. Note their successive arguments. 

Repeat the same experiment ten, fifteen, twenty 

times. A day will come when, charmed in your 

turn, you will be rapturously interested in the 

scenes of the life kindling or dying in the home of 

your "ego." 

^ We are accustomed to admit, without too much contradiction, 
the successive variations of our personality. It will be necessary, 
we may believe, to thrust farther back the true progress of the 
metaphysical person, and consider the idea even of a personal 
unity as a semblance . . . (See Pierre Janet, Psychological Auto- 
tnatism.) In short, by the side of the successive psychological 
existences, we must admit the simultaneous psychological exist- 
ences which experience discovers, but does not create. . . . 

Happiness for A.11 227 

XII. Does not the pause before our conscious- 
ness, as we watch it live, think, feel, enjoy, suffer, 
increase the intensity or the range of our existence? 

To lovers of life who complain of its brief dura- 
tion, this contemplation affords an attractive means 
of soothing their regret. Our purely external life, 
too much absorbed in the worship of money, might 
perhaps find its balance in this mental pilgrimage. 
The soul and the mind would soften all the acerbity 
of the outward life, directed and inspired by de- 
sires and instincts for which we often blush and 
yet always endure. 

We pass close by the wealth scattered within 
and around us by the primeval force of things. 
We have more riches within our souls than outside 
of our personalities. Everything depends on our 
desire to use this wealth. But, in many respects, 
we resemble the gold-seeker, who abandons the 
best veins to engage in a search for diamonds that 
are not to be found. The mission of education 
and of people of intelligence would be to check 
the unfortunate man in his foolish enterprise. 
We should point out to him the unappreciated 
treasures lying at his feet. Above all, we ought 
to open the eyes of those who, while closing them, 
weep because unable to see anything before and 
around them. 

228 TKe Science of Happiness 

XIII. Plato had already discovered that the 
contemplation of pure beauty gives value to life. 
Leonardo da Vinci sought in it consolation for the 
soul's imprisonment in the body. Kant observes 
that "the beautiful prepares us for loving some- 
thing." Superior human beings have always 
drawn from beauty a state of ideal happiness. 

Modern education ought to render this happiness 
accessible to all. From the top to. the bottom of 
the human ladder, all should enjoy the divine 
music which fills the universe. Man has been 
taught many wearisome things. Why has he not 
been taught to look around him? Above all, 
why is he not taught to look within himself? 

To render this emotion accessible to all will 
bring to every one a fragment of this heavenly 
firmament which charms and attracts. Suffer 
life to be penetrated by it, and existence will 
become a work of art. We shall be tempted to 
establish harmony between our acts and to har- 
monise our acts with life. Beauty and happiness 
will find in this readjustment an equal share. 

The worship of the beautiful in nature suggests 
to us the worship of the good. A soul elevated 
and purified by the sight of the beautiful, becomes 
better. Above all, it becomes intolerant of the 
littlenesses and meannesses of life. Moralists, 

Happiness for All 229 

and not the least important among these, for in- 
stance, Guyau, have desired to base moraHty 
upon beauty. According to these moral philo- 
sophers, Art should form an integral part of 
existence. Our joys ought to be joys of beauty. 
Passion for the beautiful has doubtless carried 
them too far. The impressions of beauty being 
only the result of individual sensations, one can- 
not see clearly how we could deduce from these a 
government of life, or a duty obligatory upon every 
one. Yet it is beyond question that if beauty 
reigned as sovereign of the world, goodness would 
become the co-director of human lives. 

Let us also teach man to enjoy the beauties 
hidden in the depths of his own being. Young 
people should be accustomed to make pilgrimages 
within their souls, as they are taken to external 

What is poesy? It is not the art of singing in 
the moonlight, the hand quivering on an instru- 
ment of several strings. Nor is it the art of rhym- 
ing strange or harmonious words. Poesy is the 
power of our soul to raise itself above life and make 
it commune with the invisible genius or the vis- 
ible beauties of nature. This poesy ought to be 
enjoyed by every one, for every one might feel 
its charm. We are born with a talent for garbing 

230 TKe Science of Happiness 

in beauty, with the pen or the brush, attractive 
or ugly things. But all can delight in the joy and 
the beauty diffused throughout nature. All can 
be poets! 

The pedagogy of the future will toil to accom- 
plish this ascent, and will labour, above all, to 
make the sons unlike their fathers. 

E. — Religion and Religiousness 

(Happiness through Faith) 

I. Faith is a supreme benefit to souls. Without 
it, life becomes colourless, if not sad, and its in- 
terest vanishes. Indifference and weariness invade 
our consciousness, gradually preparing a favourable 
soil for the growth of dissatisfaction. Life be- 
comes a burden. We feel unhappy as a man would 
be who was condemned to remain in darkness. 
It is faith which triumphs over our troubles, our 
discouragements, our weaknesses. Faith adorns 
life by giving it an ideal; faith strengthens life 
by assigning it a purpose; faith also permits us 
to live our whole life, by promising to the dreariest 
existences joyous rewards as the crown of their 
efforts. Whatever may be its object — God, native 
land, family, science, or humanity — faith lends 
to life an intoxicating fragrance. A mind without 

Happiness for A.11 231 

faith is a cold and dismal abode, which hastens the 
destruction of whoever is shut within. 

The fate of faith, so strongly attacked on all 
sides, grieves our contemporaries, and renders 
them gloomy. Men have attempted to proscribe 
faith as opposed to the interests of real life; they 
have striven to assail it on the pretext that it is 
not in harmony with the scientific methods in 
force. Lastly, by identifying it with religion, 
those were detached who are not willing to walk 
in the ruts assigned by the churches. 

Flouted, humiliated, or abandoned, faith deserts 
our souls, and with it vanish all the enthusiasms 
which adorn and strengthen life. The religions 
themselves suffer from its absence, for instead of 
true behevers, animated by faith, they often have 
as followers only calculators who accept religions 
as social necessities or political possibilities. 

But faith is one of the most living and dazzling 
sources of happiness. In the name of happiness 
we must emancipate faith from the guardianship 
of its enemies. 

Without it, life would become impossible. For 
what is duty itself, that duty which sustains in- 
dividuals, native lands, and mankind, religious 
men, and especially those who are not religious, 
except a mysterious, intangible article of faith, 

232 TKe Science of Happiness 

which dispenses with all reason and argument? 
Vainly do we analyse duty, vainly do we explain 
it; above all these explanations hovers, supreme, 
the faith which illumines it with its virtues. It is 
faith which procures for duty the stamp of inevit- 
able necessity. Duty vanishes, if faith ceases to 
bear it company. 

II. It is an error not to see in faith, under all 
its forms, a companion of religion. Both are 
associated and become similar. Religion is im- 
possible without faith, while all sincere faith is 
equivalent to a religion. Their objects may 
vary, but their essence is the same. Viewed from 
this standpoint, religion and faith become attri- 
butes of conscious man. Their various forms 
undergo radical modifications, but their elementary 
principle always survives. We cannot conceive a 
future human race without faith, as we do not 
think of the human race of the present day without 
religion. Religion and religions, as they develop, 
merge into a sort of religiousness, a domain of 
vague faith, where dogmas lose their distinct out- 
lines and assume the form of indefinite aspirations. 
Faith and religiousness have always existed; 
religions are of more recent creation. Only in the 
train of Buddha, Confucius, Zarathustra, Moses, 
Jesus Christ, or Mahomet, did dogmatic religions 

Happiness for All 233 

appear. The so-called religions of Greece had 
no sacerdotal organisation. Neither had they 
obligatory dogmas. They knew and imposed upon 
the citizens merely external rites. The supreme 
deity of the Greek philosophers was simply reason. 
Aristotle placed Nature herself far below reason, 
which she could not equal. 

The Greeks lacked several conditions for trans- 
forming their mythology into a religion : a revealer, 
a sacred book, and a theological system. No 
Greek had ventured to place himself, in the char- 
acter of an intermediary, between Olympus and 
simple mortals ; not one of them had written books 
under the dictation of the gods. Nor had Greece 
a special theology, codifying the priesthood, and 
the modes of worshipping the gods. The will and 
the caprice of individuals did not cease to regulate 
the rites. The religion of the Greeks was only an 
imagery of the poets. The genius of the latter had 
furnished its foundation and its ornaments. The 
attempts of the Pythagoreans to give Greek 
faith the more stable stamp of the revealed reli- 
gions never attained any positive result. Greek 
credulity, free in its movem^ents, only peopled 
with infinite variations the frames of the poems 
bequeathed by the ancestors. 

We scorn the past and hold the future cheap, if 

234 THe Science of Happiness 

we consider the human race without dogmatic 
religion an impossibility. 

Let us trust the human soul. It is broader than 
all religions and deeper than all the philosophical 
schools. It shelters and creates these. Within 
its precincts all are merged and have their birth. 
The error of a religion or of a philosophical system 
does not imply error on the part of our soul. In 
its march toward the stars, the latter has sur- 
mounted all the fleeting crises of religions and of 

The history of the relations of science and of 
reason are only one vast cemetery where lie 
buried the most opposite conceptions. The reason 
which incarnated science, and the relig'ous emotion 
which assumed the form of various religions, were 
sometimes melted into a single mass, sometimes 
separated into a system of dependence and equality, 
or in an open conflict, and were finally enclosed 
within a country with distinctly outlined frontiers. 
How many incongruous doctrines! How many 
dissimilar religions ! 

III. In the struggle of free thought against 
dogmas, the chances of victory are not on the side 
of the latter. The conquests of science, popular- 
ised by the lay education that is rendered oblig- 
atory, are undermining more and more the 

Happiness for All 235 

dogmas of religion. Every one admits that re- 
ligion is losing ground. Yet no one dares 
imagine that dogmas will return in their offensive 
aspects. Such an eventuality would appear illogi- 
cal, as a movement backward. Religions, to 
exist, must make a compact with independent 
thought. But the latter, while spreading through 
the rehgious domain, destroys all its principal 
foundations. BeHef in Paradise or in Hell, the 
essential tenets of all dogmatic religion, vanishes 
in proportion to the distance that science thrusts 
back the limits of the heavens, and increases the 
number of worlds. The man of the present day 
knows that the various species of animals Hving 
around us exceed two millions, and that the va- 
rieties of plants registered by the botanists attain a 
total of about three hundred and fifty thousand. 
Science has inflicted deadly wounds upon the 
childish pride of man. He no longer dares con- 
sider himself the only privileged being in the midst 
of the myriads of worlds and of beings, the greater 
part of which still escapes his comprehension. 
Convinced that the earth is only a drop of mud in 
the vast economy of the Universe, the modern 
man no longer poses as an only child of a divine 
combination. His boundless ambition turns from 
the heavens, which humiliate him. He seeks 

236 TKe Science of Happiness 

solace for his troubles upon earth, which smiles 
upon him more kindly. This tendency is becom- 
ing more marked. The religions which under- 
stand the advantages that the opportunity affords 
are opening their doors to their age-long adversary. 
Modernism, in all its forms, is penetrating the 
Church and the churches. Caught between two 
fires, the invasion from without and the revolution 
within, the rel gions are throwing out their ballast, 
and ridding themselves of the elements which, 
after having made them live for centuries, could 
now only make them die. They are growing 
spiritualised, and thus drawing nearer to the reli- 
giousness which is and will be eternal. 

IV. A regrettable confusion has been created 
between religion and religiousness. Now the 
former is incomprehensible without a creed, a 
collection of dogmas forming a positive religion. 
Religiousness is only a special quality of our 
conscience. It aspires to lofty emotions, outside 
of all creeds, all dogmas. A man who professes 
no religion may have religiousness. It is futile 
not to be a Catholic, a Mussulman, or a Jew. 
We may, nevertheless, believe in the divine 
Reason of things, of which the human race 
is only a simple manifestation. The most saga- 
cious scholars often hold this difference cheaply. 

Happiness for -A.11 237 

In their bewilderment, they even ask science 
to become religious, and religion to become 

Thus Huxley tells us that true science and 
true religion are twin sisters and their separation 
would be the certain death of both. Science 
prospers so far as it is religious and religion flour- 
ishes in the exact proportion to the depth and the 
solidity of its scientific basis. True science, 
Herbert Spencer asserts, is essentially religious. 

Religion being based upon authority, and science 
upon free examination and experience, we do not 
readi'y understand the possibility and the ad- 
vantages of their pairing. How are the two 
extremes to be reconciled? Above all, how are 
these two principles, which appear mutually to 
exclude each other, to be harmonised? By dint of 
having made a bad selection of the foundation of 
harmony, we are incurring the risk of incensing 
the two adversaries still more. Why not abandon 
them to the logic of their fate? Their antagonism 
is reduced to the character of the spirit which 
animates them. There is a scientific spirit. 
There is also a religious spirit. Both reigning in 
different domains can continue to act there without 
mutually disturbing each other. The whole ques- 

238 TKe Science of Happiness 

tion lies therein, according to the fine remark of 
E. Boutroux: Does the scientific spirit which, 
in certain of its representatives, assumes the 
negation of the religious spirit, actually ex- 
clude it, or does it permit possibility to be 

If it is admitted that the relig'ous spirit, in its 
elevated expression, is only religiousness losing 
itself in the boundless empire of the eternal and 
insoluble mysteries, passing from the complexity 
of worlds and facts toward the Beyond which has 
disturbed and attracted us ever since man lived 
upon the earth, the response cannot be uncertain. 
Yes, there will be always a vast neutral zone. 
The philosophy of the religions will there encounter 
the philosophy of the sciences. Religious thought 
will there fraternise with philosophic thought in a 
sublime emotion of the Unknown, in its march 
toward the Unknown. 

For under the influence of modem mentality, the 
religious development which embraces all faiths, 
is more and more releasing moral principles and 
destroying dogmas and forms. It is doing more : 
it is tearing from dogmas their stamp of despotism 
and compelling them to put themselves in harmony 
with independent thought. 

Creeds and dogmas, in being modified, will 

Happiness for A.11 239 

move toward that religiousness^ in which the 
human race of the future will commune. It will 
scatter along its way the errors and superstitions 
which divide souls, retaining only the truths 
which bring them nearer. 

V. Civilisation and social progress demonstrate 
the necessity and the benefits of the union of 
human beings. The crossings of peoples and of 
races are daily increasing. Science and literatures 
are becoming common property. International 
laws are widening their domain. Like the stamp 
of the postal union, there is a single thought 
dominating all the divergences of ideas and of 
interests. Religions, like all human institutions, 
must conform to the law of the living. They must 
submit, in the first place, to the conditions of 
existence that obtain in the surroimding environ- 
ment. They will remain only by being in harmony 
with human thought and feelings . Far from work- 
ing for the division of minds, they will strive for a 
closer connection. 

Religions will thus be able to coexist for a long 
time, side by side, in the presence of reHgiousness, 

^ For lack of a more suitable word, we use the old term, relig- 
iousness, whose meaning has often been distorted and violated. 
Perhaps it might have been better to invent a new one, but the 
danger of being entirely misunderstood was greater than that of 
being insufficiently comprehended. 

240 TKe Science of Happiness 

which answers the needs of all men. Native 
countries will exist in the same way beside the 
human race, the common patrimony of all con- 
scious beings. No doubt a day will come when 
in their turn the various alluvions of rites and 
dogmas which obscure the human mind will 
vanish. Then will burst forth in all its beauty 
the divine essence of all religions, religiousness, 
the universal and ineradicable principle. The 
eternal source, it has given birth to all the religions. 
In their turn, these may die, in the same place 
which gave them birth. 

Thus will pass away the creeds and the dogmas, 
yielding their ground to religiousness, the domain 
of unutterable aspirations, common to all human 

Nevertheless, it would be unfair to regard all 
the dogmatic religions as foes of our happiness. 
When they do not lower the minds of believers 
by a degrading fanaticism, and base articles of 
faith, they exert a beneficent influence. To under- 
stand this reservation, it is sufficient to remember 
the state of savagery created in the past by certain 
religions. The present, in fact, is not free from this 
condition of things. Do we not see to-day the 
majority of the religions regulate the conduct of 
their followers on the bases of a double accounting 

Happiness for All 241 

with the Lord? With extraordinary irreverence, 
the Deity is reduced to the level of a moderately 
just man. Our acts are rated. They are rewarded 
or we are made to pay a penalty. The good graces 
of the Lord are bought with offerings and good 
deeds. After having sinned a long time, we be- 
come reconciled to Him by the aid of magic 
formulas or thanks to the intervention of his 
favourite ministers. While believing this, the 
disciple blushes when he is compelled to perceive 
the fact. This is much. 

The most cruel spectacles which the religions 
present to us are those of persecutions in the name 
of faith. But merely let the spirit of tolerance 
and human imderstanding penetrate the religious 
domain and it will sufiice to render that domain 
a factor of serenity and happiness. 

Lovers of free and independent thought should 
not forget that, in striving to persecute religion 
and its believers, it would becomie still more 
odious than is religious fanaticism; for religions 
have excuses which free thought lacks. 

Lying beliefs, it will be said. Nothing justifies 

them. Let us reject them in the name of truth! 

Now, it is precisely philosophic truth which teaches 

us supreme caution. We know the errors of our 

knowledge. Its extent and its depth remiove 

242 XKe Science of Happiness 

nothing from the fragiUty of its principles. Science 
does not cease to progress, but the paths through 
which it leads us are not always infallible. If in 
every truth there is a portion of falsehood, in 
every falsehood there is a fragment of truth. 
From the scientific standpoint, nothing authorises 
the logic of the sectarian mind violently rejecting 
everything that is not in harmony with its com- 

VI. We forget the advantages which illusion 
often offers. Who would dare to take upon him- 
self the monstrous cruelty of telling a father who 
worships his child, that this child is the fruit of 
adultery? No matter if we do have incontestable 
proof, nevertheless we are silent. As regards the 
choice between the truth which would have crushed 
the heart of the man who was deceived, and salu- 
tary silence, doubt is impossible. The most up- 
right man bows to the falsehood. He will even 
do what is necessary to fill up the fissures through 
which the truth might escape. 

After all, why snatch from man the possibility 
of seeing things as his happiness requires? Re- 
member the example of Marcus Aurelius, the most 
virtuous of the Romans. Faustina basely de- 
ceived him. Her love affairs were numerous. 
The Empress chose them principally in the most 

Happiness for All 243 

despised professions, and scandalous rumours 
were current of her shame and her treacheries. 
Comedians pubHcly named Faustina's lovers, and 
Marcus Aurelius was pointed out as the most 
deluded of husbands. Yet the Emperor would 
hear nothing, would see nothing. To him Faustina 
ever remained the good and faithful wife. He 
benevolently shut his eyes. Gradually certainty 
returned to his soul. He no longer doubted his 
conjugal honour, for he believed absolutely in the 
virtue of her whom all Rome was loading with 

The prayer which Marcus Aurelius addresses 
to the gods on the banks of the Gran is delicious. 
He thanks them, in the sincerity of his soul, 
for having given to him a good, faithful, and 
affectionate wife. 

How disturbing this good man's example re- 
mains! Why tear aside the veil which covers 
happiness if, when dethroned, it must give place 
to misery? We possess only the happiness which 
is felt, understood, above all, desired. Why rouse 
the dreamer when his dream, without injuring 
any one, affords him visible pleasure? Truth 
is divine in its essence — another reason for not 
causing suffering in the name of truth. Another 
reason for not arrogating its exclusive possession. 

244 THe Science of Happiness 

Yes, souls dear to our hearts live by illusions. 
Why snatch these illusions away? Science can 
continue its course freely, without striving to 
destroy the things which do not impede its path. 
It needs neither persecution nor proselytism. Its 
victories are invading contemporary mentality. 
By the natural force of things, they will elimin- 
ate from it all that is not in harmony with its pre- 
cise truths. But spiritualistic philosophy is not 
incompatible with scientific method. Witness 
Pasteur, Darwin, and so many other scientists who 
are so imbued with "religiousness." 

VII. Dogmatic religions are also wrong in 
seeking to struggle against lay morality. The 
latter takes the place of religious morality when the 
other weakens or disappears. Social harmony 
requires their mutual respect. Mankind can exist 
only upon moral foundations. Why discredit 
those of science and of experience, if a portion of 
the nation must live by these latter? In the same 
way it is dangerous to attempt to destroy religious 
morality if the ground is not ready to receive the 
seeds of the other form. Both have sufficient 
cause for mutual respect. Guyot justly says: 
*'The false, even the absurd, has always played so 
prominent a part in human affairs that it would 
certainly be dangerous to exclude it at any time. " 

Happiness for JSA\ 245 

On the other hand, free and independent mor- 
ality is, after all, only a morality founded upon the 
social and moral interests of man. Its object is the 
happiness of the individual and of the community. 
Why then should we not feel disarmed in the 
presence of its fumbHngs, striving for our benefit, 
our happiness? 

ReHgions have only to consider the oceans of 
tears in which they have nearly drowned mankind 
to be indulgent toward the morality of the free 
thought which is endeavouring, in its turn, to 
guide the destiny of man. Whatever we may do, 
nothing will prevent the advent of a more and 
more rational morality, of a faith more and more 
freed from the artless or barbarous notions which 
are so far beneath the man of our times. The 
essential thing is that the evolution should take 
place without causing useless sufferings. 

The atheism of the present day, to tell the truth, 
is but a word. A cultivated man can no longer pro- 
claim himself an atheist according to the ancient 
definition. He can no longer deny the influence of 
the forces which escape him and the principles that 
he ignores. He is distinguished from believers only 
because his belief shows him a different tenor. But 
the atheist, also, cannot exist without a faith, without 
a certain religiousness in harmony with the explana- 
tion which we have given above. A man who has 

246 TKe Science of Happiness 

never drunk from the springs of science or one who 
has appropriated from them merely superficial ideas, 
can boast of being an ardent and positive materialist. 
But the man who, in good faith, has striven to pene- 
trate the essential points of modern science, can no 
longer remain in harmony with either atheism or 
materialism in their absolute meaning or in the one 
attributed by the common people. There is a univer- 
sal law which rules the entire cosmic world. It de- 
stroys our faith in matter. It concerns the sovereign 
law of gravitation. The myriads of- worlds surround- 
ing us, including the hundred and twenty millions of 
stars revealed to our wondering eyes by the perfected 
telescopes, almost all these stars controlling worlds 
often far larger than our solar system, nevertheless 
are held only by an ideal, spiritual, and invisible 

How do all these worlds maintain their positions, 
and perform their functions in consequence of im- 
material forces and laws whose bearing and signifi- 
cation, though misunderstood by us, nevertheless 
remain real? 

When we descend from metaphysical heights and 
return to the domain of positive morality, the atheists 
find themselves singularly near to all sincere believers. 

The supreme end of all morality, based upon 
religion, or deprived of the divine idea, is always the 
same. Love, and make yourself beloved, there is 
nothing above this principle. 

A Christian writer, not one of the least important, 
justly shows far more sympathy with the atheists 
than with the believers animated by an automatic 
faith, for the former have an ardour of belief, a fierce 
love of justice and of truth which the second lack. 

Happiness for All 247 

This is the very reason, M. Monod has told us, that 
modern atheism does not cease to be reHgious. 

Victor Hugo explained before Wilfrid Monod ^ that 
he "who did not believe in God, one and triune, 
listening to harps, jealous and vengeful, was never- 
theless a true believer, while the priests who taught 
God were atheists." And, for the reason that the 
man who desires and works for justice, is a religious 

An atheist, to use the term as generally applied, 
would therefore be wrong to incriminate the aims of a 
rehgion that leads the simple-minded toward the 
heights attained by the elect of lay thought, just as 
true believers would commit a serious error against 
the higher interests of humanity by attacking in any 
way, except by persuasion, the deep and painful 
sorrowful convictions that deprive certain anxious 
and troubled souls of all repose in beliefs. 

Sincere faith, moreover, has for its inevitable 
counterpart no less sincere doubt. 

The salvation of religious faith lies in the reciprocal 
tendencies these two antinomies have to combat. 
The radiance of faith would pale singularly if it could 
not be opposed to incredulity. The latter, in its turn, 
draws its strength from the shock it receives from the 
ardours of faith. The beneficent balance of mankind 
requires the coexistence of these two factors. Their 
time-honoured and inevitable companionship renders 
reciprocal tolerance possible and necessary. 

Persecutions and martyrology have never been able 
to destroy the development of the free mind, but no 
jeering at dogmas will ever conquer the need of faith 
in our hearts. 

^Wilfrid Monod, Aux croyanfs et aux athees. 

248 THe Science of Happiness 

Both may meet and communicate in the same 
domain of happiness which masters in the same degree 
a believer and a sceptic, a rehgious and an irrehgious 
man. Both are aiming, after all, toward justice and 
happiness. Some are content with desiring to render 
the world a paradise, while others rejoice in possessing 
that of the world beyond. 

Thus they have in common one ideal and one faith 
— that of making our existence nobler. We need only 
purify faith and elevate scepticism, and both methods 
will meet more and more in common aspirations 
toward a more and more lofty and intense happiness. 
The best among those who deny or affirm are labour- 
ing for the same God of justice and happiness whom 
they call by different names. 

This- similitude of life and of work asserts itself from 
the very beginning of religions and of free thought. 
Taine states that Christianity, after eighteen centuries 
of existence, is now working in the same way among 
the Russian moujiks and the American settlers, as it 
did formerly among the artisans of Galilee, in striving 
to substitute for love of self, the love for others. 

Its essence, examined through this vast region, has 
not changed. 

"Beneath its Greek, its CathoHc, or its Protestant 
envelope, it is still to four hundred millions of human 
creatures the spiritual organ, the majestic pair of 
wings which are indispensable to raise man above 

Free thought, summed up in the vast lines of its 
evolution, expresses at the end of several thousands 
of years, the same guiding thought. 

This thought aims to render man superior to his 
instincts. The science which develops outside of 

Happiness for All 249 

religion has for its object only to furnish in its turn, 
and at its expense, another pair of beneficent wings 
to raise man above his pitiable and miserable 

The doctrine, the pedagogy, and the morality of 
happiness are ready to furnish a common basis 
for all rehgions and all sincere and disinterested 

Within their bosom all the flagrant or hidden con- 
tradictions which appear to separate them are found 
to be levelled. The aspiration to that lofty happiness 
which, being of altruistic essence, alone is deep and 
lasting, reahses for that very reason the love for our 
neighbour that constitutes the indispensable and in- 
evitable ideal of all the rehgions and of all the social 
and laical doctrines worthy of this name. 

Modern incredulity, as well as modern atheism, is 
distinguished from those of the past. The most 
positive rationaHsts now admit the existence of 
spiritual needs and eternal aspirations toward the 
infinite. The most convinced among them have 
undergone the fate of Faust, of all the Fausts whom 
humanity sheltered during the ages. They have dis- 
covered the need of their souls to turn, at some given 
moment, toward the mysteries, toward the noumena 
that hes hidden beneath each phenomenon. 

Below their reason, they perceive this whole vivify- 
ing layer of the sub-conscience which feeds and 
maintains the inner Hfe to its fathomless depths, 
whence come to us the most spontaneous of our 
intuitions and of our creations. 

Absorbed by anxieties or by our daily troubles, we 
forget its existence. But, having returned within 
ourselves, we gaze, troubled or marveUing, at this 

250 TKe Science of Happiness 

domain of limitless frontiers from which rises in beauty 
a mysterious force. 

There also lies for us the source of religious emotions. 

Their foundation is the same, but their names vary. 

Nevertheless we endeavour to raise an impassable 
barrier between the believers and the atheists by 
opposing their doctrines relative to survival. 

Undoubtedly there is nothing more delightful to 
the human consciousness than the idea of survival. 
Under its rudimentary forms, it appears with the first 
rays of the awakening of our intellect. But an insur- 
mountable abyss also separates, in this domain, the 
ancient notion of immortality from that of our own 

The simple-minded men of ancient days were em- 
pirical. Therefore they believed in the reality of 
symbols, in the actual life of images and of names. 

The doll that rudely represents the human features 
has its own life. In this quality, it can be sacrificed 
to the gods. The names that people bore also had a 
real existence. When they disappeared from the 
memory of men those whom they were supposed to 
incarnate vanished in their turn. 

The great reformer of Egypt, Amen-Hotep IV, 
wishing to destroy the divinities of his country, de- 
stroyed first of all their statues and the names in- 
scribed upon these. The iconoclasts, who amaze us 
to such a degree, were only logical people. They 
acted in conformity with the ideas of their times. On 
that very account the future life was limited to the 
duration of the images or of the memory left among 
the living. Thus the negroes believed in the life 

Happiness for A.11 251 

beyond the grave of their father, whose deeds and 
movements they remembered, but they did not be- 
lieve in that of their ancestors of whom they v/ere 
entirely ignorant. "Whoever has his name spoken, 
lives, and if another sees that you are doing this for 
me, he will also do it for you," runs an inscription 
found upon the temple of Horus at Edfu. ^ 

The future life consists in a brutal and material 
prolongation of life here on earth. Imbued with these 
materialist conceptions, the ancients saw in immortal- 
ity merely the continuation of the terrestrial existence. 
Only, exhausted by fatigue, that of the other world 
became a pallid image, lacking warmth and love, a 
life of shadow. This is why the Greeks, in spite of the 
varied appearances which they had succeeded in 
grafting upon the primitive idea of death, had no 
inclination for existence beyond the grave. 

The typical saying of Achilles, that he would rather 
be the slave of a poor man on earth than to reign over 
a kingdom in the other world, incarnates all the fears 
and all the hopes of the Greeks. 

Our ideas of immortality have changed greatly 
with the course of time. How numerous have been 
the lofty additions that render it more spiritual, 
especially more desirable. 

The soul being no longer identical with the body, 
and the mind being independent of space, immortality 
is emancipated from the infirmities and the decrepi- 
tude of our material envelope. Again attached to the 
system of our mind it hovers above our religious con- 
ceptions, and even displays an infinite variety of forms 

^ See among others: Ranke, Zeitschrift fiir Aegyptische Sprache 
und Alter thnms-Kunde, 1907 ; Maspero, "La religion egyptienne," 
Revue de Vhistoire des religions (6th year), etc. 

252 THe Science of Happiness 

beneath which it takes shelter. But all these forms 
have the same purpose, which consists in diminishing 
our sufferings here on earth, and in opening to our 
hopes infinite horizons. 

The spiritualisation of the essence of immortality 
renders the conciliation of doctrines more and more 
easy. Yet we should do wrong to seek to impose it as 
a simple dogma. Faith in immortality, as well as its 
favourite form, is only the product of our personal 
consciousness. Mankind has dispensed with them for 
ages. The loftiest consciences succeeded in existing 
without the aid of faith in immortality, as the most 
admirable and the most moral men will be able to 
develop without its assistance. 

We may cite a thinker Hke John Stuart Mill, who 
was at the same time the most honest of men, to whom 
the idea of eternity was even odious. 

He tells us that, in a higher and especially a happier 
existence, it would not be annihilation, but immortal- 
ity, whose idea would become unbearable. The man 
who is well satisfied with the present, and in no haste 
to leave it, would nevertheless be sincerely distressed 
by the thought that he was chained through eternity 
to a life which he would not be sure of desiring always 
to retain. 

The more and more strongly marked variety of doc- 
trines and their emancipation from the ruder articles 
of faith, when these are not in harmony with the 
elementary data of good sense and of knowledge, have 
resulted in softening the English who, in former times, 
separated the atheists from the believers. 

A closer connection, based upon a reciprocal under- 
standing, is also showing itself in this domain among 
fair-minded men. True behevers are permitting them- 

Happiness for A.11 253 

selves to be influenced more and more by Reason, as 
sceptics and atheists are affected by the spiritual 
sides of our aspirations and of our life. 

The new conceptions of the infinitely great and of 
the infinitely little, which fill all the exact sciences, 
have singularly broadened the horizon of our ideas. 
The infinite has entered into our calculations, occupy- 
ing our visions, and for that very reason, animating 
our hopes. 

Our most intelligent ancestors, in many respects, 
had the ideas of the simple-minded men of our days. 
The geographical or astronomical notions of the 
ancient Greeks would make a schoolboy ten years 
old smile. 

We see much more broadly, and much farther. In 
proportion as our imagination widens its vision, 
boundless regions open before it. By the aid of 
several units formerly unknown, we measure and 
weigh the phenomena of the solar world. Thanks to 
the micron, that is, the thousandth part of a milH- 
metre, or to the light-year, that is, the distance which 
light traverses in a year (its speed per second, however, 
is three hundred thousand kilometers) , we are trying 
to attain through our imagination the extreme fron- 
tiers of the real, and we thus obtain singularly dis- 
turbing facts. Our pen mechanically records them, 
but our powerless brain refuses to understand them 
and to grasp their immensity. 

Think, for instance, that the distance traversed by 
the Hght which reaches us from one of the stars that 
is nearest to our earth is equal, during a single year, 
to about ten thousand thousand milhons of kilometers. 

254 TKe Science of Happiness 

The number of drops of water contained in all the 
seas of the globe, is estimated by oceanographic 
science at about thirteen hundred millions of cubic 
centimeters. Let us try to decompose this figure. A 
cubic centimeter contains a thousand millions of 
cubic meters, and a cubic meter, in its turn, contains 
a thousand million cubic millimeters. 

Our imagination pauses in consternation. Yet the 
matter in question concerns only our own planet, a mere 
drop of water or mud in the economy of the universe. 

Here is another example: It has been discovered 
that infinitesimal quantities of metallic salts corre- 
sponding to a ten millionth of a milligramme per 
quart still act upon lactic fermentation. Now, in a 
quart of fermenting milk, there are about a hundred 
thousand millions of cells. The result is that we have 
to deal with fractions of grammes in which there 
would be twenty-five noughts ! 

The boldest calculation dares not approach certain 
operations. Vertigo or utter lack of comprehension 
thus brings our reflections to a close. 

So the idea of the infinite is deepened and broadened 
in every direction. As fast as our comprehension 
embraces more and more impenetrable horizons, it 
finds itself compelled to admit experimentally the 
reality of incomprehensible forces and the existence of 
an unknown Power, whose grandeur and whose depth, 
surpassing the most stupendous resources of our intel- 
lect, command Faith, because in their indefinite form, 
they arise only from our Faith. 

Behind the inconceivable world of the present, 
there lies one still more inaccessible to our mind, the 
world of yesterday, the world of incalculable ages 
already past and of incalculable ages to come. 

Happiness for All 255 

Bottomless, boundless gulfs are waiting on all sides 
for the thought which would fain venture into their 
depths. The combinations of worlds and of phe- 
nomena realised, in process of realisation, or in view 
of being realised, exceed even the power of our figures. 

We imagine with difficulty a magnitude attaining 
fifty figures side by side in a line. 

Let us think, for example, that the entire mass of 
the earth expressed in kilogrammes of its weight does 
not exceed twenty-five figures and the number of 
drops of water contained in all the seas about thirty. 
Now, the probability of combinations of forces and 
of the phenomena of nature probably surpasses 
thousands of millions of figures. 

I have calculated elsewhere the different ways of 
seating guests around a table. The placing of twelve 
persons can give occasion for five hundred million 
combinations; that of fourteen presents ninety-one 
thousands of millions, and the seating of fifteen, 

But nature presents myriads of elements. What 
would then be the number of possible combinations? 

We can answer again only by the Infinite. The 
Infinite, which outstrips all the possibilities of our 
comprehension and consequently our ideas, our 
dreams, and our aspirations. 

This Infinite imposes itself upon our Faith, because 
it imposes itself upon and pervades our Reason. 

Call it: Jupiter, Jehovah, Providence, Nature, God 
the Father, or Force. What does that matter! The 
point in question is always a simple Faith. 

No human intellect can cast it out, and the more 
reflective, the more scientific it is, the more it will be- 
lieve, and the more it will be imbued with this Faith. 

256 TKe Science of Happiness 

The Unknowable or the Mysterious which guides 
the believers also guides the scientists. More im- 
patient in his deductions, the believer stops midway. 
He puts a period where the scientific searcher places 
only a comma. His sentence is finished, his horizon 
is narrowed, because he has set at the end of his 
anxieties a series of dogmas. 

The seeker continues to work, though knowing in 
advance that the mystery thrust farther into the 
distance will not cease on that account to be a mystery. 

The Infinite not closed is the free or emancipated 
mind, is our spirituality more and more purified and 
elevated. The problem of our Intellect is thus 
identified with the problem of the Infinite. 

With man thus grown loftier, mystery finds itself 
more honoured, for it transports and accompanies us 
into the infinity of the suns, into the infinity of 
thought, into the infinity of hopes, into the boundless 
divinity that fills the world and our destinies. 

As man forms a portion of the universe, in his turn 
he is deified and immortalised. He will undergo the 
fate of the universe, the fate of the God-Force which 
completely penetrates him. 

Into the undefined and limitless Faith of the man 
of science returns the narrowed Faith of the man of 
dogmas. As the forest incorporates the trees which 
compose it, so philosophical or scientific Faith ex- 
presses the multiplicity of religions and of crystallised 

Moreover: All the shades of the religions termed 
positive or revealed mingle in this general one, as the 
waters of the rivers disperse in the ocean. 

The atheism of former days has lost its cause for 
existence. It has come to die on the threshold of the 

Happiness for A.11 257 

belief in the Infinite, or if we prefer, of the Great All, 
of the Great Force, or of the Great Mystery. 

With progress, dogmatic faiths having softened 
their angles and brought their dogmas into harmony 
with the modern conscience, will end by being, in 
their turn, summed up into a more and more vague 
and ideal faith. 

They will lose their stamp of concrete affirmation 
and assume the common tonality of the faith that 
animates all thinking beings. 

Dying atheism and vanishing religious fanaticism 
are only the prelude of that triumphal symphony of 
the human Faith of the future, which will be summed 
up in the same awe of and the same longing for the 

Then there will be little regard for the " accessories " 
which divide revealed religions from the one estab- 
lished by the study and the observation of the 

True science confines itself to proclaiming the spirit- 
uality of faith, but the believer seeks to materialise it 
and incarnate it under forms accessible to his mind. 

The characters find themselves singularly reversed. 
The religious man is thus becoming a "materialist," 
and the man of science remains an "idealist." This 
result, apparently paradoxical, singularly illumines 
the recriminations and the quarrels which separate 
the two camps, and preaches to them the necessity 
of a mutual understanding that will be more just, for 
while the crust that surrounds their souls appears to 
distinguish them, a core of Faith nevertheless unites 
them, under the banner of the Unknown, the supreme 
object of their aspirations which they do not cease to 
have in common. 

258 TKe Science of Happiness 

VIII. History is only an incessant tradition. 
We pass from certain conditions of moral and 
material existence to other moral and material 
conditions. This change constitutes the essence 
of progress, and we easily accommodate ourselves 
to it, when the passage is made in an imperceptible 

But there are also acute crises. Under an in- 
ward pressure of events, we rush in all haste toward 
new quarters. This change startles peaceful souls. 

Misoneism, or hatred of innovation, sleeps un- 
suspected in the human mind. Awakened, it 
defends itself by all the means within its reach. 
We shut ourselves up in the old abodes; we re- 
plaster the walls ; we even stuff the holes through 
which the new light threatens to filter. More 
conciliatory occupants, on the other hand, try to 
repaint their dwellings in conformity with the 
taste of the day. 

These are the epochs of great and small revolu- 
tions. Consciences are darkened. They vainly 
seek their way. The conflict sharpens minds and 
renders them hateful and implacable. Gradually 
the light breaks forth, for truth has a peerless 
power of penetratioji. Thus it is that monarchies 
accept the intervention of the people in the govern- 
ment, and religions that of reason in the dogmas. 

Happiness for A.11 259 

Is it necessary to drag recalcitrant spirits by 
force toward the new abode? For what purpose 
if the house, irremediably condemned, must, 
sooner or later, be vacated? A struggle to the 
bitter end could only increase the suffering. Let 
us permit minds to work freely, and progress to 
operate by the power of truth. 

Let us preach calmness and reconciliation; for 
human passions are in any case doing and will do 
their work. They are hastening the imminent 
victory of ideas, by suffering. It is the part of 
noble minds to lessen the extent and the bitterness 
of this suffering, for tolerance, that sensible 
patience, is the exclusive virtue of sages. 

IX. Everything tends to the belief that these 
struggles will be made more and more under 
conditions of mutual esteem. Indulgence, the 
natural fruit of comprehension will soften all 
extravagance in the ardour of the combatants. 
It will console the vanquished and will teach the 
victors comprehensive kindness. The most re- 
presentative champions of free thought have them- 
selves given examples of moderation. Kant has 
not ventured to place his " categorical imperative'* 
outside of the future life. " Like a simple Savoy- 
ard vicar," remarked Paul Stapfer, "he concluded 
that the harmony between virtue and happiness, 

26o THe Science of Happiness 

not being realised here below, must be offered to 
our hope in heaven." Ernest Renan jeered at the 
illusions of independent morality. "By dint of 
chimeras," he tells us, "we have succeeded in 
obtaining from the good gorilla a surprising moral 
effort." But he did not see how, "without the 
ancient dreams, we could succeed in rebuilding 
the foundations of a noble and happy life." " It 
is necessary to maintain," he tells us elsewhere, 
"in addition to the fatherland and the family, 
an institution from which the soul may receive 
nourishment, consolation, counsels, an institution 
where may be found spiritual teachers, a director : 
that institution is the Church. " 

The virus of the seminary probably speaks 
through the lips of Pvcnan. His imagination, nour- 
ished by the intoxicating charms of the Church, 
did not conceive of life without its aid. "Without 
it," he asserted, "life would become dishearten- 
ingly arid, especially to women." Herbert Spencer 
sought salvation in the reconciliation of religion 
and science. 

Spencer's illusion is that of the great majority 
of thinkers of every age. It is easily explained. 
We may note first that the origins of science and of 
religion appear to be the same. Both owe their 

Happiness for All 261 

birth to the reaction of the world upon our minds, 
our souls ; both have for their object principles which 
are incomprehensible, unknowable, and beyond the 
range of thought. Religion has the absolute; 
science has, among other things, space and time. 

The history of philosophy is only a series of 
efforts aiming to realise the harmony between 
science and religion. From the Greeks, Vv^ho 
believed that they perceived the same divine 
reason working in both domains, passing by the 
scholastic doctrines, which preached the identity 
of their objects and their methods, and ending 
with the philosophers of our own times, who believe 
in the inevitable harmony between science, the 
product of intelligence, and religion, the product of 
feeling, how many schools and thinkers have been 
toiling to prepare, to explain, and to realise the 
friendly harmony between the two! Yet this 
harmony is far from being concluded. 

August Comte's effort is doubtless one of the 
most characteristic. In wishing to make religion 
the crown of science, and to erect its proud and 
powerful kingdom opposite that of science, he 
has only narrowed the limits of both. Religion 
and science come forth singularly disfigured and 
curtailed. Their boundaries are found to be 
arbitrarily violated and marked. Science sees 

262 XKe Science of Happiness 

itself delivered over to the domination of emotion,. 
and sinks to the level of a province conquered by 

As to religion, it becomes in its turn the victim, 
if not the slave, of mankind, a condition which to 
Comte is the gauge and the end of everything. A 
poor wandering shade, it goes from the actual 
to the useful, and from the useful to the actual, 
the heaven and the promised land of positivist 

X. Nearer to us, William James, with his 
pragmatist doctrine or religious experience, has 
also tried to realise this harmony. He has ad- 
vanced farther than his predecessors. Does he 
not claim for religions the character of a science? 
Knowledge dictated by the heart has for him the 
same weight as knowledge resulting from experi- 
ence. After all, religion is also an experience. 
Aided by a warm and ingenious dialectic, James is 
trying to identify feeling, the subjective principle 
of the religions, with scientific experience, from 
which personality is banished. 

Do not mathematicians study the same facts 
by the path of infinitesimal calculus, and that of 
geometrical analysis?. Why, asks James, can we 
not study the phenomena which surround us by 
both the scientific and the religious methods? 

Happiness for All 263 

The American philosopher forgets that a scienti- 
fic demonstration means the demonstration of a 
truth visible to and comprehensible by all who are 
placed under the same conditions. A religious 
experience or truth always remains personal. 
Admitting their objectivity, it would be necessary, 
at the same time, to banish the sacred princi- 
ples of tolerance. Religious truth having become 
impersonal, having become an objective truth, it 
would be necessary to impose it upon every one. 
We should not have, however, the right to re- 
spect the so-called asserted truth or the falsehood 
of the others. 

Now, what saves religious experience, if experi- 
ence there is, is precisely that, being the product 
of feeling or of individual sensation, it is not 
demonstrable. It binds the person who sees it in 
a certain way, without disturbing the repose of 
his neighbours. 

James, however, believes that he has found in it 
a true scientific basis. By relying upon the sub- 
liminal self, that second consciousness, which, 
according to Myers, would be possessed by every 
human sou] (the double), he declares that man, 
thanks to thic supplementary consciousness, finds, 
himself in relations with another world and other 
beings superior to those we have before our eyes. 

264 THe Science of Happiness 

And this sphere of action, thus based upon a 
positive (?) fact, would be reserved for religion. 

We see how unscientific is this science. The 
phenomena described by Myers also show not 
infrequently and very distinctly the traces of 
pathological disturbances. The most significant 
ones cited by the author of Human Personality 
enter the category of the facts observed by psy- 
chologists, under the name of psychological autom- 
atism. This automatism does not create new 
syntheses; it is only the result of a psychic ac- 
tivity which had already existed, and by which it 
is almost always accompanied. Many phenomena 
which kindle the imagination of James have been 
recorded and studied by the alienists. We do 
not yet know them very well and, at any rate, not 
sufficiently to entrust to them the direction of the 
religious sovereignty. ^ 

Nevertheless, William James continues to con- 

* Let us recall this fact, many times confirmed. While scien- 
tists and philosophers such as Richet, Lombroso, or Myers, set out 
from spiritualism in search of the "multiple ego," psychologists 
also reach it in a direct line by studying natural or artificial 
somnambulism; physicians by examining neuropaths and 
hysterical persons, and alienists, disaggregation of the personal- 
ity. The morbidness and the mystery accompanying it are thus 
invading the field of the subliminal consciousness. It is becom- 
ing hazardous, from the scientific standpoint, and unseemly 
from the religious one, to seek to erect a scientific religion upon 
ground so uncertain. 

Happiness for All 265 

fuse the modernists and a large portion of the in- 
tellectual youth of both continents. His doctrine 
preaches to souls the beauty and the truth of the 
integral life by which the modem conscience is 
assauged. He attracts by his quasi-scientific 
varnish and disarms by his ardent desire to diffuse 
peace and happiness through religion. 

But pragmatism will soon cease to act, like 
intoxicating music which, after having deeply 
stirred our hearts, vanishes without leaving any 

XL The more we reflect upon so many abort- 
ive attempts, the more we perceive the futility of 
these efforts. Men have desired to reconcile ir- 
reconcilable things. Religions, born of an eternal 
necessity of the soul, remain unassailable, so long 
as they are enclosed within its bounds. ReHgions 
in a state of religiousness have nothing to fear and 
nothing to expect from science. Transformed into 
dogmatic religions, they undergo necessarily the 
dangers of the religious evolution. After having 
grown through the centuries and having wandered 
through the world, the dogmatic reHgions, urged 
by dogmas and rites, will return toward their 
cradle, and, sooner or later, will be merged into the 
reHgiousness which gave them birth. Science will 
then have only to bow before the principles which 

266 THe Science of Happiness 

animate them and the domain which naturally 
remains closed. There will be no need of preaching 
harmony. It will take shape through its own 
volition, and nothing will have power to disturb 
its reign. 

From that time, the dogmatic religions and 
science can live in a union of reason and inter- 
est, independent of any theoretical attempt to 
reconcile their irreconcilable principles. 

XII. When a reflective mind confronts all 
these doubts, it understands the injustice of per- 
secuting the ancient dogmas. However erroneous 
they may be, 'they have been man's companions for 
ages. They have cost him much suffering, but 
they have procured him many joys. Perhaps 
they have done more: they have produced the 
truths of which he is so proud. Like the aged 
parents whom advanced age has rendered insane 
or imbecile, they have a right, nevertheless, to our 
respect. We no longer listen to their counsels, we 
liberate ourselves from their government, but it 
would be unjust to ill-treat or scornfully cast them 

After all, death is their fate and their right. 
When the fruit attains maturity, nothing can 
prevent it from leaving the tree which it burdens 
by its presence. The rising sap of science and of 

Happiness for All 267 

good sense thus avoids the necessity of torturing 
the branches bending under the weight of the 

Let us be indulgent to the old prejudices or the 
dying dogmas, and let us open our souls to the new 
truths; let us be respectful to the religions which 
are passing and place confidence in the religious- 
ness which will some day replace these. The times 
are close at hand when mankind, united in religi- 
ousness, will draw from it reasons for peace and 
happiness. For the dogmatic religions are dis- 
integrating. To see how far they can go, it is 
only necessary to observe the spirit of renewal by 
which they are animated. The moral progress 
must be discounted, not by unity of years, but 
by unity of generations. When we think of the 
aspirations which have stirred all the organised 
denominations, since the first Congress of ReHgions, 
we believe ourselves authorised to make the bold- 
est conjectures. Yes, the religions are losing more 
and more, along the path of their evolution, the 
dogmas and the rites which keep them apart. 
They are purifying and deifying themselves in 
moving toward religiousness, the common domain 
of all men who cannot and will not dispense with 
questioning nature concerning those things upon 
which science will probably never explain. 

268 XKe Science of Happiness 

XIII. We may sum up as follows : 

What is religiousness? It is reduced to the 
indefinite relations between our personality and the 
infinite. Religiousness is necessarily individual- 
istic. Refusing to be fettered by dogmas or rites, 
religiousness admits neither church, nor doctrine, 
nor priesthood. In its bosom, vast as that of 
the universe, may meet in mutual respect all 
souls that are conscious of the eternal mystery and 
that are in relation with the Infinite. The pur- 
port of these relations is nothing, the primordial 
fact of their existence is everything. 
' Religiousness is in harmony with all the sincere 
religions, which, insensibly, merge within its 
boundaries. Religiousness is in every religion. 
We can move the feet without running, but we 
cannot run without moving the feet. It is 
impossible to be really religious without having 
religiousness, but we may have religiousness with- 
out being affiliated with any religion. Thus 
understood, religiousness will contribute to the 
happiness of thinking men of the future, as it 
now procures happiness for the thinking men of 
our own times. 

We have some difficulty in imagining our future 
under this aspect. A humanity whose members 
will not make each other mutually suffer and bleed 

Happiness for All 269 

on account of the difference in their religious 
feelings, appears inconceivable. Such a condition 
of things would undoubtedly mark the approach 
toward a real golden age. This eventuality sur- 
prises us the more because we believe wrongly 
that the Golden Age lies behind instead of before 
us. Yet human endeavours would be incon- 
ceivable, if not stupid, did we not advance toward 
a happiness ever greater and more intense. Our 
sorrows, our conflicts, and our sufferings are 
paving the way for the birth of a new man. 
Like the bronze which appears in beauty amid the 
flames and refuse of the casting, religiousness, we 
do not doubt, will disengage itself, pure and majes- 
tic, from the age-old clutch of dogmas and religions. 

XIV. Religions may thus grow weaker. They 
may even disappear, but religiousness, that is, 
the aspiration tow^ard the things which are not 
always of this world, will remain the eternal 
companion of the thinking being. The thirst for 
the ideal is inherent in man, and a normal soul 
cannot dispense with it, any more than a normal 
body can live without a certain quantity of oxygen. 

Man, according to Boutroux, is a very peculiar 
being who aspires to surpass himself. He will 
return to the path of religiousness when he seriously 
aims to do so. 

270 TKe Science of Happiness 

That which facilitates this ascent outside of 
ourselves and far beyond the limits of our body, 
is the soul, the intellect, a force that "bestows 
more than it contains, restores more than it re- 
ceives, and gives more than it has," said Bergson 
in his turn. 

We place in juxtaposition these two affirmations 
emanating from the two leaders of contemporary 
philosophy for the express purpose of showing how 
unanimous are the influential minds of the present 
day in justifying the aspirations and the solid 
foundation of our religious speculations. 

Philosophical materialism has itself become 
idealistic. Matter without mind is no more 
conceivable than the body without the living 
soul. We are understanding more and more that 
the divine kingdom lies within us. Like all the 
genuine sources of happiness, it is at the disposal 
of the entire world. The human conscience, 
broadened and deepened, opens to us the paradise 
of which we have so long dreamed. We are per- 
ceiving better and better that we all hold within us 
divinity, as divinity embraces us all. The fish 
swimming in the sea have the sea in themselves. 
We live in divinity, and a god dwells in us all. 

There are souls that vegetate or slumber, and 
this god also remains slumbering in the depths of 

Happiness for All 271 

their consciences. But we need only have a 

thinking soul to see within that soul a god. Let 
us respect him in others, in order that the one in 
us may be respected. This is the essential con- 
dition of the peaceful evolution toward happiness 
through religiousness, the common and natural 
shelter of all human consciences. 



I. The reception was a most brilliant one. 
Around the hostess, whose drawing-room was 
noted as the gathering-place of all whom Paris 
numbered as celebrities in the domain of literature 
and of art, there were grouped, on this evening, 
several men of much renown in the world of 
intellect. Heaven and earth, — incidentally Para- 
dise, — were being discussed. It was a regular 
tilt of swift repartees, witty sayings, subtle com- 
ments. A tinge of pleasant malice, under a varnish 
of toleration, dominated this tournament. 

A young man, striving to attract attention, 
uttered several clever witticisms. His musical 
voice and lively remarks won universal approval. 

' ' Where did he come from ? What does he do ? ' * 

He had received point-blank the most expres- 
sive — because silent — flattery, and his desire to 
shine, to emerge from obscurity, was aroused. His 

eloquence, lashed by his first successes, made him 


j\ Fe^w CatecKisixis of Happiness 273 

take giddy leaps. He did not notice the weariness 
of his Hsteners, the amused faces of his rivals. 
Gradually, recovering his senses, he perceived that 
the game was lost. By a few new turns, he tried 
again to win the battle. But the charm was 
broken. Fifteen minutes later, the brilliant minds 
were gathered in another corner of the drawing- 
room. One felt in the surrounding atmosphere 
the anguish of a destiny on the eve of extinction. 
A growing reputation had just been laid to rest. 

Before our eyes had been unfolded one of the 
numerous little dramas of the drawing-room. 
They have their profound melancholy and their 
deep sadness. Well-poised minds will express 
doubt over an incident unworthy of stirring their 
sensibility. Yet nothing, in itself, is either great 
or small. All depends upon our own conception 
of things. In the eyes of this whole little world, 
the point in question was an irremediable cata- 
strophe. The victim was suffering. His face was 
contracted with pain, and his eyes were dimmed. 

We left the company together. The unfortun- 
ate fellow walked with drooping head. He was 
humbled and prostrated, like a gambler who has 
lost his last stake. 

"How sparkling your mind is!" I said to him. 

He looked at me doubtfully. Was he dealing 


274 XKe Science of Happiness 

with a malicious joker, or a benevolent connoisseur? 
People are always connoisseurs, when they know 
how to appreciate our gifts and talents. 

I held out my hand to him. 

"Yes, " I said, "you have a remarkable intellect. 
But it has one defect. It does not seem to be 
aware of the eloquence of silence. If, after hav- 
ing delighted the company, you had known how 
to listen and to admire the others, your triumph 
would have been assured. The true conversation- 
alist is the man who knows how to listen. When 
he adds to this the gift of being able to say a few 
sensible words, he becomes irresistible." 

Months and months elapsed. One morning I 
received this little note: 

"I have profited by your advice. I appreciate 
the power of silence. I no longer make useless 
efforts. I attend patiently to the chatter of others. 
They like me immensely. I say little. This per- 
mits me to weigh my words, and wins the praises 
of all those to whom I listen." 

In fact, X is now considered one of the 

most brilliant men in the capital. 

I have reflected a great deal upon the bearing 
of this trivial incident. How many times have we 
not witnessed the spectacle of people eagerly 
destroying their own interests? The chatterboxes 

A Tg^v^ CatecHisnis of Happiness 275 

everywhere form the enormous majority. All 
contribute their utmost to render the society of 
men by no means enviable. Yet it is not always a 
physiological necessity to talk which causes the 
various torments of people. Most frequently, it 
is the invincible necessity of pleasing. Why have 
we not been taught the advantages of silence? 
II. The most insignificant fruits of experience 
on the tree of our knowledge are piously culled. 
Why, in the domain of morahty, are the woes and 
disappointments of our ancestors left unutilised? 
These lessons, crystalHsed into a condensed form, 
and constantly placed before our eyes, would 
perhaps end in changing our nature. Sublime 
magic of words! In any case, they might spare 
us many errors and many tears. 

The reHgions have always reduced their wisdom 
into morsels. But the religious formulas, too far 
removed from life, principally affected those who 
had retired from it. The human beings near at 
hand must have the honey of actual life, which 
could and ought to be utiHsed under all circum- 

III. We desire to render productive the blood 
shed by soldiers upon the field of battle. We 
wish to be reimbursed for the losses occasioned by 
war. What is Ufe except the continual battle of 

276 TKe Science of Happiness 

men against fate? An eternal conflict. Begun 
hundreds of thousands of years ago, it will end 
only with the disappearance of the last survivor 
of the human race. Let us make the victors speak. 
Let us listen to the groans of the wounded and of 
the dying. In the vast cemetery of the past rest 
the secrets of the happiness of the future. 

For experience always costs too dearly. We 
should err in wishing to have it encompass our 
life. That would be like desiring merchants to 
acquire the secrets of success at the cost of great 
losses or successive failures. A ship captain does 
not learn his profession in a series of shipwrecks. 
Certain experiences even deprive us of the possi- 
bility of deriving profit from them. 

It is not always easy to make those who are 
gone interpose. So let us also listen to the living, 
and draw from their tears and their smiles, their 
disappointments and their triumphs, a few guiding 
ideas. Above all, do not let us lose our own joys, 
but through the ashes and the rust with which 
circumstances cover our souls, let us allow them to 
speak. Pausing before the waves which are 
bearing it away, let us hearken to the voice of life. 
Solemn and musical, it points out how to avoid 
tortuous and deceptive paths. Perhaps it will 
also indicate the easiest ascent toward success. 

A Few CatecKisms of Happiness 277 

The catechism, or rather the catechisms of Hfe! 
The catechism of physical health ! The catechism 
of intellectual and moral health ! The catechism of 
success! The catechism of happiness! Fruits of 
the wisdom and of the thought of others, they 
would permit us to use the tears and the joys of 
our neighbours for the benefit of our own future. 

How many flowers are culled in the great garden 
of our existence! We do wrong to let them fade 
and perish. It would be so easy to enjoy their 
intoxicating fragrance, which is released under the 
action of destiny as is the perfume of the flowers 
under the breeze of the night. 

IV. We know the beautiful answer of a medi- 
seval theologian, who had been asked to define the 
essence of religion while he was balancing on one 

" Love your neighbour as yourselves, " he replied. 

Certain sciences of Hfe could also be condensed, 
if not into a few lines, at least into a few pages. 
The form they will take when they have come from 
the lapidary will dishearten many of the unbe- 
lievers. We expect the roads of happiness, like 
those which lead to Heaven, to be very long, and 
especially very complex. Yet there are candid 
souls that go there by the simplest ways. And the 
road they pursue is the best one. 

278 XKe Science of Happiness 

Let us try to imitate these souls by plucking 
from the tree of life a few fruits which are full of 
flavour. Their quality will not be always of the 
choicest. There will even be bitter and utterly 
bad fruits, for it is necessary to have a rare gift 
to be able to choose unerringly, and I shall not be 
so absurd as to claim this gift myself. But, by 
reflecting upon the benefit these fruits afford, we 
shall perceive the possibility of securing finer and 
more nutritious specimens. We shall also dis- 
cover how profitless it is to leave them unused. 
And then more skilful gardeners will obtain for 
them greater flavour, and, above all, more tempt- 
ing forms. Here are some of the articles of a cate- 
chism of happiness. We may begin with that of 
our moral existence. We will proceed by a pre- 
sentation, in a few words, a sort of short formula, of 
one experience of life, and mention as a com- 
mentary its attractions and its benefits. 

To Be Happy, we Must Wish to Be So 

Happiness is the child of our will. The stronger 
this is, the more beautiful is its product. There 
are people who are happy, thanks to mere chance, 
but this happiness is ephemeral. The lightest 
breeze lays it low; it is uprooted and destroyed 
by the least adversity. Only by the exertion of 

A Fe-w CatecKisms of Happiness 279 

our will can it be consolidated. When we deter- 
mine to be happy at any cost, when we bend life 
to the exigency of our happiness, the latter rises 
triumphantly and majestically against the entire' 
world. Thought, subjugated by our desire to be 
happy, breathes upon the frowns of fortune and 
converts them into smiles. Then we even laugh 
at fatality. The latter no doubt is potent, but 
it can accomplish nothing against the impossible. 
Unhappiness cannot enter our souls when, ade- 
quately armed, they repel their foes. 

Let us Balance the Account of our Life Daily 

The incidents of life, provided we do not reflect 
upon them, do not form part of ourselves. They 
glide over our souls like water over rocks. To enjoy 
our individual happiness, it must be seized while 
passing. Otherwise it flies as do the phantoms of 
a dream. We complain of the brief duration of 
our Hfe. By pausing before its manifestations, 
we render it more intense. Above all, we shall 
render it more advantageous for our future. Let 
us pause in preference before our happiness. How 
many times it has fallen to my lot to talk with 
people who ought to have been very happy! 
Always busy, they had not understood the con- 
ditions of their happiness, and it has passed. 

28o THe Science of Happiness 

They were even unhappy from having shut their 
eyes to the causes for their happiness. We must 
look at our own Hfe, then we shall love it more. 

A Harmonious Life Ought to Embrace the Past, the 
Present, and the Future 

The past contains, like a strong-box, the treasures 
of the life which has been lived. These treasures 
are ours. We dispose of them according to our 
pleasure. We linger over the happy moments, we 
reject the painful ones, and we reflect upon the 
facts that are pregnant with instruction. In this 
way we multiply the instants of happiness and 
enrich our lives. The future is like the present. 
We enjoy it through the imagination. The past, 
which serves for instruction, is also a source of 

We must also think again of its sorrows, for we 
must recall our lives. The sweetness and the 
goodness of things are ours only at this price. 
They comfort us for disappointments and give 
existence its value. 

Everything which befalls us in life ought to 
serve for the formation and the extension of our 
"ego." For that very reason our existence be- 
comes richer, more intense, and more interesting. 
We gdin the jo^^s of a double life. The one which 

A Tg^sv CatecHisms of Happiness 281 

is enacted in the depths of our souls is supple- 
mented by that which passes ouside. 

Let us Avoid Anger 

The gentleness of indulgence disarms the wicked, 
and nourishes our own souls with honey. It averts 
from us the wrath which brings in its train in- 
justice and vengeance. Anger is a venom danger- 
ous to the soul and destructive to the body. 
When it takes possession of our "ego," it pene- 
trates the most mysterious corners. A source of 
weakness, it degrades man, and renders him in- 
ferior to the person against whom it is exercised. 

Let us Be Men! 

To Hve rightly, it is necessary to possess the 
consciousness of the dignity of man. This quality 
adorns life and fills it with happiness. There 
is no superior or inferior position, for all positions 
are dependent upon our consciousness which, 
like the sun, shines alike upon the lofty and the 
humble. The art of living is merely the art of 
conducting ourselves worthily under the smiles 
and the frowns of fortune and evincing humanity 
in our deeds and in our thoughts, thus dominating 
them, instead of being their slaves. 

We must believe in human dignity, that ruhng 

282 XKe Science of Happiness 

faith animating and guiding our existence. Thus 
we feel ourselves penetrated by the bond which 
unites us to the great All. Whether we be deists 
or atheists, this bond will be for us a source of 
pride, of energy, of consolation, of encouragement. 
Then we shall truly live, and we shall also labour 
more humanely, more joyously. 

Happiness Depends upon the Extent of our Love 

The soul that is filled with affection resembles a 
well-lighted room. Love and kindness illumine 
and revive our consciousness. But we often lavish 
kindness or, friendship upon those undeserving 
of it. Such expenditiire ought not to be too 
deeply regretted, for the satisfactions which they 
afford us, nevertheless, remain great and whole- 
some. The pleasure which the exercise of kind 
feelings affords is good for us, and we cannot be 
deprived of this benefit. Whoever shows himself 
unworthy is like the diseased tree which, before 
dying, gives us its fruits, without desiring to do so. 

Life Is Effort, Labour, Action 

This is a thought which all who are dreaming in 

their retirement should keep in view. To with- 

• draw from life is to attract death. The asserted 

repose is only the torpor of our body and our mind. 

A Few CatecKisms of Happiness 283 

Both weaken and offer an easy prey to their 
natural enemies, diseases. 

Those who speak ill of action and rush toward 
repose resemble people who would seek joy in the 
silence of the tombs. The pleasure is brief, for 
the semblance of death is swiftly transformed into 
death itself. 

Courtesy as the Basis of Success 

Courtesy conquers everything and costs us 
nothing. Thanks to it, the most insignificant 
man derives a positive benefit. It is a token 
which leads to the presumption of agreeable 
gifts: kindness, gentleness, a good education. 
Not to use courtesy, would be equivalent to casting 
away a treasure which is offered gratis. When 
politeness comes from the heart, it reaches hearts, 
and protects us as artillery protects the army 
which is following. We advance through life 
pleasantly, for everything yields to its magic 
power which conquers on its way both hearts and 

V. If, from the moral domain, we pass to that 
of physical health, we shall perceive still better 
the profound influence of these guiding thoughts. 
They ought to direct us, like lighthouses along the 

284 TKe Science of Happiness 

numberless pathways of our life. Health is one 
of the fundamental causes of happiness. People 
who are well regard things sanely. They are 
almost always optimistic. Life in itself is not an 
evil. Bad digestion counts nine tenths in our 
gloomy ideas. Cure yourself, we ought to say to 
the pessimists, and life will present itself to you in 
all its charms. 

Yet mankind is becoming more and more sad 
and disenchanted. This is because humanity 
is moving farther and farther away from whole- 
some principles. We talk far too much of social 
hygiene, but we do far too little to realise it in 
life. Dr. J. Hericourt shows that the government 
and society are rivalling each other in the task of 
propagating diseases.^ Comparison with past 
ages affords us too facile consolations. We forget 
that the conditions of existence have radically 
changed. Human agglomerations have become 
too dense ; the waters we drink are more apt to be 
infected; we live far less in the open air; we work 
too much with our brains, and too little with our 
muscles. The generations which immediately 
preceded us have suffered from too many bloody 
and violent revolutions. They have bequeathed 
a morbid heritage of unsettled nerves and feeble 

^ Modern Hygiene. 

A. Fe^v CatecKisms of Happiness 285 

organisms. The bad germs of our ancestors are 
committing ravages in us, like the evil microbes, 
multiphed during the centuries in the waters and 
in the air. 

Sooner or later social hygiene will triumph. 
It will estabhsh its reign over the societies of the 
future with the majesty of a law of collective 
safety. While awaiting its victory, w^e all ought 
to watch over our own well-being, before advancing 
to the conquest of the general welfare. This will 
only hasten its advent. 

The human race, to be reformed morally, must, 
above all, be reformed physically. The two forms 
of health are connected, and afford each other 
mutual support. Mankind, qualified for happi- 
ness, will not only be better, it will also be more 

Here, as elsewhere, we can do much for ourselves, 
through our own efforts. A breviary of health, 
containing in condensed form the most important 
rules to follow, might regenerate humanity. These 
reminders, placed constantly before our eyes, 
would permeate our consciousness. 

Imagine several generations submitting do- 
cilely to these beneficent suggestions. The plea- 
sure of living, under their influence, would be 
changed into the luxury of living. 

286 TTHe Science of Happiness 

Let us instance, by way of examples, a few 
directions for living sanely. Let us trust to 
comprehensive souls. Through these few separate 
leaves, a perception is afforded of the beauty and 
of the utility of the entire plant from which these 
leaves are detached. 

Let MS Avoid Excess in Food 

Almost all persons eat two or three times as 
much as the human organism requires. The 
products of excessive and poorly assimilated ali- 
mentation cause an efflorescence of toxins. Our 
weakened bodies become the refuge of all sorts 
of diseases. Our moral being, in its turn, is also 
vigorously attacked. Life becomes a burden. 
In proportion to the approach of maladies, the 
joy of living and happiness recede. 

We ought to be on our guard against our appe- 
tite. We should master instead of submitting to it, 
a laconic precept upon the adoption of which often 
depends the welfare of a long and happy life. 

Let us Harmonise our Mental and our Physical 

There is an imperious necessity for exercising 
at the same time our muscles and our brains. A 
sane and powerful mentality demands a sound and 

A Fe-w CatecKisms of Happiness 287 

substantial body. Manual labourers ought to 
use their minds. The right to intellectual culture 
is the fundamental right of the working class, as 
the right of making their muscles work belongs to 
the liberal professions. But it is not sufficient 
to grant a right, the possibility of exercising it 
should also be assured. Upon the balance between 
our muscular and our cerebral life depends the 
rational improvement and the happiness of the 
human race. 

The Primordial Duty of Man Is to Respect his 

Our individual health is not only the foundation 
of our own happiness, but it also contributes to 
the happiness of the community. Excesses com- 
mitted injure visibly only ourselves, but they are 
equally harmful to our immediate environment, 
to the community, to the State. They also wrong 
future generations. Incalculable in their conse- 
quences, our transgressions against the vital 
principles of our organism thus become actual 

It is man's duty to practice physical morality. 
Attacks upon the laws of health, though difficult to 
define and to punish, nevertheless remain offences, 
while sometimes assuming the gravity of crimes. 

288 THe Science of Happiness 

VI. We are almost constantly witnessing the 
spectacle of enormous efforts to obtain moderate 
results. In political and social life majestic 
engines are brought forward to heat little glasses 
of water. Costly meetings of sovereigns, accom- 
panied with reviews of their armies, are organised, 
which have no influence upon the progress of 
things. Elaborate laws are promulgated which 
change nothing. They resemble the imposing 
buildings that afford no one shelter. 

These sights are familiar. They no longer 
cause astonishment. But the contrary scandalises 
us. A little turbine intended to move a complex 
machine leaves us incredulous. 

The influence which these maxims, so easily 
drawn up and maintained, can exert upon the 
moral and the physical health of human beings 
will not be readily admitted. We believe far 
more readily in the power of big books whose 
ideas escape us, as trees are lost in yast forests. 
Yet these precepts might be as numerous as the 
infinite aspects of life. They might sum up its 
entire philosophy by placing it within the reach 
of every mind, of every heart. 

VII. We are grateful to a friend when, in a 
difficult moment, he pushes us into a path that is 
favourable to our happiness. These fruits of 

A. Fe>v CatecHisms of Happiness 289 

wisdom would exercise the functions of these 
prudent friends. The flowers of experience gath- 
ered among neighbours would thus be utilised ; as 
also those which have grown in the gardens of 
our minds. These cautions would often be like 
the seeds which, carelessly flung upon the soil, 
produce beneficent trees. Amid the intersecting 
roads the pathway of our safety would be easily 
found. Thanks to the seeds which have been 
scattered, our minds will grow. 

Adapted to the understanding of juvenile 
brains, these delightful precepts of wisdom might 
easily increase experience before maturity. These 
maxims would be dissolved in the youthful minds 
as foods easily assimilable are mingled with our 
organism. Repeated to satiety, they would be- 
come an integral part. 

There are undoubtedly books of maxims, of 
aphorisms, or of detached thoughts. But the 
idea which guides these is rather that of amusing 
or of shocking our imagination. We do not take 
their instructions seriously. This anxiety to 
instruct, usually absent in authors, is still more so 
among those who read their works. 

VIII. Breviaries, as we conceive them, will be 
true manuals of life. Their contents, chosen 
with method and discernment, should be engraved 

290 TKe Science of Happiness 

upon our memories in a beautiful and attractive 
form. Their thoughts should be like those royal 
gifts which, often undeserved, fall into our lives 
and cover them with magnificence and splendour. 
Utilitarian manuals for young and old, they would 
form a peerless pedagogy, a pedagogy of the happy 

Thanks to them, the soul could be rendered 
more sensitive to happiness and happiness more 
soHcitous for our souls. Placed in the hands of 
youths, they could do much for the education and 
elevation of minds. 

In their condensed form, far from stifling, they 
would enlarge our minds, by making them mature 
more rapidly, in their applications to the wisdom 
of life. 

These summaries of the experiences of the outer 
life would facilitate the unfolding of the inner one, 
as the fortune inherited from their fathers facili- 
tates the increase of the wealth of the sons. The 
catechism of life will perhaps be a subject of instruc- 
tion in a few half-scores of years. And doubtless 
it will not be the subject that the pupils will study 
with the least diligence and love. The pupils will 
see, in this way, the most instructive aspects of life. 
They will learn from a tender age the means of 
driving away sorrow and attracting happiness. 

A Fe-w CatecKisms of Happiness 291 

Our demonstration may not be entirely convin- 
cing. This tells against our eloquence, but not 
against our idea. A bad guide , I have chosen a 
bad path. It may be that I have inadequately 
described the charms. Test these by seeking 
them yourself. Compose a breviary of life, based 
upon your own observations. Try to keep it 
henceforth before your eyes. To understand its 
advantages more readily, begin with that of 
physical health. Its effects are more prompt, and 
for that very reason, more convincing. Reduced 
to a score of precepts, the suggested breviary 
would spare us many disappointments. These 
instructions, ever present to our minds, would 
bar the way of a double number of maladies. We 
should live more happily, while at the same time 
living longer. 



I. Life dominates the universe. It existed 
before us, and will exist after we have passed 
away. To it we owe what we are, and we must 
transmit to others the sacred torch which has 
been confided to us. We must live our life. 

This is the supreme lesson which is impressed 
upon us from all sides. The normal human being 
will always manifest a desire to live, and an 
instinctive apprehension of death. We undoubt- 
edly feel the void that we shall leave after our 
disappearance, we even grieve over it. Yet we 
do not go so far as to believe in the disappearance 
of life from the moment that we shall be no more. 
Life remains and will remain the primordial factor, 
without which we cannot imagine the nature of the 
outer world nor our inward personality. The 
basis of all our thoughts and of all our actions, 
it may be, and it is in reaHty, the underlying 

foundation of morality. 


TKe Morality of Happiness 293 

II. We live. Whatever may be the cause to 
which we owe Hfe, we must submit to its require- 
ments. It is necessary to hve, and furthermore to 
live happily. These are two inseparable postulates, 
which may furnish the system of government of 
our lives, a system of morality. The history of 
mankind is often summed up in a good or in a bad 
conception of happiness. For the idea that we 
form of it, the sentiments which it inspires in us, 
fill our lives. Granted a human race composed of 
philosophers, and their mode of thinking and of 
living would become in its turn philosophical. 
It is not sacrifice or abnegation which has created 
human civilisation. It is the ideal of happiness 
which the best of human beings have formed. 
All have laboured in view of their low or lofty 
interest ; all have been guided by their instinctive 
or conscious aspirations toward happiness. 

But how are we to live? How are we best to 
fulfil our destiny? To answer this anxious in- 
quiry thousands of systems of moraHty have been 
devised. At the present day, as in the times of 
the first philosophers, there is division on this 
subject. The ideal proposed was sometimes too 
high, sometimes too low. Above all, it was too 
far apart from our real interests or our individual 
aspirations. Men appeared to forget that the 

294 THe Science of Happiness 

desire to live happily follows the principle of life, 
as the night follows the day. 

Happiness feeds and directs our life. Undoubt- 
edly it assumes all shapes. Let us distrust those 
that deceive our judgment, for even the renuncia- 
tion of happiness is only one of its special forms. 
Viewing the sacrifice toward which noble souls 
tend, it seems to us that their desire is to live in 
misery. On becoming closely connected with them, 
we perceive that the point in question is not a 
negation of happiness, but the attainment of a 
more refined, more elevated happiness. The moral- 
ity of the ascetics is nourished by the pleasure of 
suffering, an inverse form of happiness. Madame 
de Sevigne speaks of a priest who ate stockfish 
in this world that he might feast upon salmon in 
the other. In the depths of many religious cal- 
culations which are lauded as the ideal morality, 
we almost always find the eternal stockfish with 
which we are content while anticipating delicious 
fish in the world beyond the tomb. 

III. It is the meaning which we attach to 
happiness that renders our life base or noble. 

The moral masquerade in which we live makes 
us disguise the directing thought of our acts. 
It is baptised by so many false names, it is made to 
submit to so many changes, that its real nature 

XKe Morality of Happiness 295 

remains hidden and intangible. With rare hypo- 
crisy, we found moraHties upon principles of 
duty, of justice, of love, of the fear of heaven and 
of hell. Strip them and we shall discover, be- 
neath all these artifices, the true motive of life, 
the search for happiness. Therefore, let us grant 
happiness openly the dominant place, since, 
victorious, it has resisted and is resisting all the 
attempts to stifle it. 

IV. The aim of science, in general, and that of 
morality, in particular, consists in releasing the 
truth of facts and feelings, but not in veiling these 
facts, or in making them forcibly return into 
preconceived ideas. 

Man owes all that he is to the vanished genera- 
tions. This debt he must, in turn, repay to those 
that will follow. He does not imagine himself with- 
out the dead who have disappeared, the living who 
surround him or those who will come after him. 
He has sacred debts to the dead, and duties to the 
living. This solidarity between the dead and the 
living, and between the living themselves, is thrust 
upon him in his every act and in his every thought. 

Moreover, experience teaches him that his 
happiness is only the result of the happiness of 
the community. In the same way that he was 
shaped by the vanished generations, he depends 

296 XHe Science of Happiness 

upon the human beings by whom he is surrounded. 
Grant that society might return to a state of 
brigandage, and his safety, as well as his personal 
happiness, will vanish with the happiness of the 
community. The hygienic precautions taken by 
the individual result in profit to the public, just 
as his health, in its turn, depends upon the mea- 
sures for the prevention of disease adopted by 
the community. The law, that expression of the 
public will, protects the community against the 
perils of unchained selfishness. These instances 
of the dependence and the reciprocal soHdarity of 
our personal interests, and those of the community, 
might be multiplied ad infinitum. And the more 
we reflect upon the laws of our happiness, the more 
we perceive its direct dependence upon the happi- 
ness of the community, the happiness of our na- 
tive country, and of the native countries of other 

This discovery shows us and explains the su- 
preme duty of our life: no one has a right to enjoy 
the benefits which he owes to the labour of others, 
without contributing his share, in proportion 
to his means, to their happiness and their safety. 

Thus we have duties to the family, the com- 
munity, to the fatherland, and to the human 

TKe Morality of Happiness 297 

V. The long ages during which hfe was mis- 
understood have made us disparage happiness. 
A pedagogy based upon ideas often contrary to 
the nature of man, has rendered it contemptible. 
Happiness, the morahsts assert, is only interest, 
and the interest is vile and unworthy. Instead 
of placing happiness upon the heights to lead 
human beings upward, it was constantly assigned 
a suspicious place in a degraded life. Happiness 
was hidden behind false virtues, as the nobles of 
the old days covered their natural hair with some- 
what doubtful wigs. And although happiness was 
banished from the city, nevertheless, more ardent 
than ever, laughing at those who sought to stifle 
it, it has never ceased to demand its rights. Like 
the bell of which Victor Hugo sang : 

" Even while sleeping with nor breath nor light. 
Still the volcano smokes and sighs the bell, 
Still from its brazen heart the prayer doth well, 
And we no more can stay the sounds that rise 
Than stop the ocean's waves, or winds from out the 

Hypnotised by the erroneous ideas of our 
ancestors, we tremble at the thought of the re- 
habilitation of happiness. Its deliverance seems 
at once odious and dangerous. At the bottom of 

298 TKe Science of Happiness 

our apprehensions appears, amazing in its survival, 
the conception of the diaboHcal origin of man. The 
son of Satan, man incarnates evil. To restrain 
his wicked nature, it must be lulled to sleep by 
decoctions of sublime abnegation. Because he 
has been seen coercing the weak, it has been 
concluded that his "nature" demands the exercise 
of tyranny over his fellow- beings; because he has 
been found treacherous and given to lying, it has 
been inferred that he is bom for cunning or 
falsehood. The facts proven have doubtless been 
true, but their interpretation has been in every 
respect false. 

In reality, man loves, seeks, and lives only 
through and for happiness. 

Transform his sensibility, improve his feelings 
and, instead of doing evil, he will live for good, 
which then becomes one of the essential conditions 
of his happiness. 

Maine de Biran has given utterance to this 
profound observation': "Give to the strong 
being a feeling of sympathy and love, and instead 
of oppressing the weak his relative power will 
henceforth be exercised only in their support.** 

We preach to man .the sacrifice of his own person 
in behalf of the species, and he does not cease to 

* Foundations of Morality and Religion. 

TKe Morality of Happiness 299 

claim his individual rights to life. The addresses 
of the founders of religions, and the tirades of the 
moraUsts are shattered against the invincible 
necessities of our rights, of our life, of our happi- 
ness. Yet the purest, the most disinterested 
minds often abandon their abstractions when 
they encounter reality. Then the reUgions speak 
of the "reward," an invincible means of at- 
tracting and of holding mortals in the path of 

"Rejoice and be exceeding glad," Jesus has 

said, "for great is your reward in Heaven." . . . 

Also "that thine alms may be in secret: and thy 

ather which seeth in secret himself shall reward 

thee openly." (Saint Matthew.) 

We must submit to evidence. Nature herself 
seems to be favourable to the rights of the individ- 
ual. We witness, without opposition, the sacrifices 
which the latter makes for the race. But it may 
be set up as a principle that these sacrifices are 
in an inverse ratio to the value of the individual. 
In proportion to his ascent in the organic scale, 
his forms of immolation to the race diminish in 
quantity and in quality. 

The Myxomycetes as well as the various crypto- 
gams disappear as individuals as soon as they 
are born, for in associating they cease to exist 

300 TKe Science of Happiness 

separately, and in the form of plasmodia they 
become a mass of living matter. 

The swimming polyps form colonies of organs 
necessary for the existence of the community. 

Ascend by a few steps, and we shall see how the 
individual is emancipated up to the time when, 
with man, he has his personality independent 
from that of the community. He might live 
almost isolated from his fellow-creatures if it were 
not for his happiness, which imperiously demands 
the social state with all the rights and the duties 
the latter involves. 

VI. But, it will be said, if the principle of 
happiness flows from individual interest, will it 
not expose us to disappointments, for our interest 
is not always just? Granted. But nothing is 
perfect under the sun. The just itself is often 
dangerous or harmful. The fate of human socie- 
ties frequently depends upon stratagems and 
falsehoods. In the struggle of the weak against 
the strong the former would perish if they were 
condemned to use only means which are not re- 
prehensible. The essential point is to diminish, as 
much as possible, the attacks made upon the prin- 
ciples of truth and of goodness. Yet it would be 
wrong to condemn justice and truth because their 
application, often difficult, may also be harmful. 

TKe Morality of Happiness 301 

The principle of happiness sometimes occasions 
moral disappointments, but what principle of 
morality is free from these? That of happiness 
will at least have in its favour the sincerity and 
the force of a general and inevitable law. Far 
from being an invention of the philosophers, it is 
a reality of life. And if morality cannot always 
descend to the level of happiness, let us raise the 
latter to the level of lofty morality. If the mount- 
ain will not go to Mahomet, runs an old saying, 
Mahomet must go to the mountain. Our ideal 
of happiness must be educated. We must 
make it include divine things, and the human 
race will have aspirations toward sublime hap- 

VII. When we succeed in rooting in our con- 
sciousness the recognition of the enhancement 
of our happiness which goodness and soHdarity 
afford, humanity will become good and beautiful, 
just as it is advancing toward peace in proportion 
to its understanding of the miseries of war. 

We could never urge sufficiently the power of 
suggestion. Often it is only necessary to consider 
that a suggestion of our senses is real for this 
illusion to assume the force of reality. 

What, from the standpoint of abstract beauty, 
is more insufficient than our organism? But, by 

302 TKe Science of Happiness 

dint of believing it perfect, we do not perceive its 

Yet in the eyes of experienced anatomists, the 
human body is only an unfinished model. Num- 
berless ruins, vestiges of a long- vanished past, en- 
cumber it in every direction. Some of its organs 
are entirely useless; others, without charm and 
obsolete, rebel against the harmony of the whole. 

Of what service is the epiphysis of the brain or 
the pineal gland? It is only a useless survival of 
the Cyclopean eye of the saurians. As useless 
are the extrinsic muscles of the ear, or the lachry- 
mal caruncle, a heritage bequeathed by the third 
eyelid of the mammals. According to Widers- 
heim man would have one hundred and seven of 
these hereditary abortive organs, which will 
perhaps survive thousands of centuries more, 
contrary to the rules of utility and beauty. 

Man has no cure for these. He is so convinced 
of the perfection of his organism that these defects 
have no influence upon him. The dogma of 
feminine beauty affords us a still more striking 
example. The structure of woman is contrary to 
the rules of the all-powerful canon. Yet woman — • 
even more than man— nurtured by the suggestions 
of so many centuries, does not cease to see in her 
form the incarnation of supreme beauty. 

THe Morality of Happiness 303 

The mind rules our acts. It also rules our 
sensibility and, for that very reason, our happiness. 

It is only necessary to stint or to nourish it, 
and, in its ttim, it will affect our way of seeing and 
feeling things, in short, it will shape our happiness. 

VIII. Morality is only a partial conception 
of our mind. We can form and de-form it, ac- 
cording to the elements which enter into its 
composition. We slander moraHty by calling it 
exclusively innate. If this were true, religion and 
pedagogy would become equally useless, and we 
might close at the same time both the schools and 
the churches. 

But happiness depends chiefly upon the moral 
feelings. Intelligence and happiness often follow 
two parallel lines, which appear analogous, though 
they are not identical. Intelligence acts upon 
happiness only in an indirect manner by influencing 
our morality and our aspirations. But happiness 
has its roots sunk in the moral domain. Vainly 
would the sources of happiness be sought elsewhere. 
The man who has not succeeded in implanting 
them in his conscience, will find them neither in 
wealth, nor in honours, nor in pleasures. 

External circumstances can do everything: 
they can even destroy us, but they cannot give us 
happiness if our morality does not aid them. That 

304 TKe Science of Happiness 

is what gives value to life. Without it, happiness 
refuses to grow as, without the sun, neither 
flowers nor fruits would come to gladden our eyes. 

Ah! how charming is the Persian legend about 
the perfectly happy man ! 

A king who was very powerful and very un- 
happy, consulted his astrologers. "What must 
one do to be happy?" The latter, after patient 
searching, found the clue to the riddle. "Omni- 
potent king, you must wear the shirt of a per- 
fectly happy man." After long search a poor 
peasant was found who was perfectly happy. He 
was a ragged fellow, who had no shirt. 

IX. Auguste Comte has set forth the influence 
of morality upon happiness in pages of absolute 
lucidity : 

"True human felicity," he says, "depends 
more upon moral progress, over which at the same 
time we have greater control, though its exercise 
may be more difficult. There is no . intellectual 
improvement which, in this respect, could equal, 
for instance, a real increase of goodness and of 

Elsewhere Comte formulates, in a still more 
definite manner, the influence of moral progress 
upon happiness: 

» A. Comte, Systemc de politique positive. 

The Morality of Happiness 305 

"Our moral improvement participates in our 
true happiness in a way more direct, more complex, 
and more certain than any other thing whatever. " 

Long before Comte, the immortal author of 
Le Traite des Passions de VAme had discovered 
this interdependence of cause and effect which 
unites our moral life with happiness. 

''Whoever," Descartes affirms, ''has lived in 
such a way that conscience cannot reproach him 
with having ever failed to do any of the things 
which he has beheved to be best (the virtues), 
receives from this immunity a great satisfaction 
which renders him happy. " 

X. Yet let us not be excessively optimistic. 
The noble principles which work out the healthy 
comprehension of happiness suffer serious perver- 
sions in life. This simply proves that we have not 
done enough to secure the triumph of noble happi- 
ness and to establish it on solid foundations within 
the precincts of our consciousness. We know that 
life is very hard upon all ideal conceptions. They 
can maintain themselves in their serene beauty only 
in the domain of the absolute. 

Therefore the moraHty of pure happiness, con- 
sidered from the absolute standpoint, must not 
be confused with appHed happiness. The task 
of the educators will be to bring us nearer and 

3o6 XKe Science of Happiness 

nearer to the heights of pure, absolute happiness. 
When the ideal of practical happiness is brought 
as nearly as possible to the ideal instituted by 
the morality of happiness, it will answer all the 
requirements of duty and of justice. 

This morality will doubtless be slow in establish- 
ing itself. It must first give a precise definition 
of its principles, and after that bring about their 
adoption. Above all, it must uproot the false 
notions of happiness on which we have lived from 
time immemorial, in order to replace these with 
new ones. But henceforth we can foresee pro- 
found and beneficent changes resulting. 

XI . When mankind has understood that happi- 
ness lies within ourselves, and that we are happy 
only because we desire to be so, thousands of pre- 
judices will crumble around us, prejudices which 
now prevent our moral improvement, and impede 
our way to happiness. We have showed else- 
where that our unhappiness is frequently only the 
product of our misconception of Hfe. We do 
things which are harmful to others, without think- 
ing that their woe is baneful to ourselves. 

Envy, the mother of so many social misdeeds, 
is chiefly injurious to ourselves. Kindness and 
love, the source of happiness to others, obtain this 
blessing first for those who put them in practice. 

TKe Morality of Happiness 3^7 

The wealth which is the result of effort profitable 
to others, alone affords genuine enjoyment. 
Labour produces a lasting joy. Family life, based 
upon mutual love and respect, does the greatest 
good to its members. From every side comes 
the same assurance: it is impossible to enjoy a 
noble and permanent happiness outside of that 
of our neighbours. In proportion as our life 
broadens and grows nobler, this soHdarity of 
happiness enlarges more and more. Plato's divine 
theory of virtue is conjured up as we study happi- 
ness. Virtue is a science, the philosopher taught. 
Whoever does evil is a person who does not know 
good. The same is true of happiness. The 
imhappy man is he who is ignorant how to obtain 

XII. People who boast of having studied Hfe 
shrug their shoulders when they hear happiness 
spoken of in this way. Goodness and love as 
ends in themselves! Nonsense! And they cite 
numerous examples showing the contrary. Do 
not criminals who rob on a grand scale enjoy the 
fruits of their crimes? They are rich and proud. 
Social distinctions are theirs, as well as the 
esteem of their fellow-citizens. They distribute 
the favours of life. They are envied. 

Each great city has its infamous dens where 

3o8 TKe Science of Happiness 

swarms a population that is suspicious and 
criminal. When victims are abundant and crimes 
easy, its members appear to enjoy unclouded happi- 
ness. They give themselves up to drunkenness 
and debauchery and would not, on any account, 
change their picturesque and adventurous life. 
Are they really happy? Who is the man who, 
aside from the question of responsibility, would 
accept this form of happiness? ' 

We challenge at this stage the apologists of 
triumphant vice. Does not the point in question 
concern a special form of happiness? We need 
only see it at closer range to disdain, if not to 
scorn it. Certain animals live with entire satis- 
faction in the quagmires. There are others that 
thrive only in the mire. Can we envy or desire 
that kind of happiness? 

We have chosen extreme cases : criminals on a 
large scale, benefiting by the consideration of the 
world, and criminals of low grade, objects of horror 
and universal scorn, enjoying the smiles of fate. 
What is the difference that separates them? 
When we tear off the masks that cover the true 
aspect of things, we perceive the fragility of their 
happiness. Especially do we perceive its inferior 
quality. As the man who has enjoyed the de- 
lights of pure air will not exchange it for a vitiated 

THe Morality of Happiness 309 

atmosphere, so he who has understood the beauty 
and the nobihty of genuine happiness wi 1 not 
abandon its domain to venture into the marshy 
fields of vice. 

XIII. Happiness being the goal of man, and 
the goal of society, it is easy to deduce from it 
the direction of individual and social life. Man is 
a social being, and his happiness being impossible 
outside of society, it must harmonise with the 
requirements of the happiness of the community. 
This harmony is formed upon the bases of Justice, 
which, in its turn, creates Duty. Their principles 
aim at the happiness of the community, and this 
communal happiness is only the aggregate of in- 
dividual happinesses. The happiness of the in- 
dividual must be subordinate to Justice, which, 
the vigilant guardian of the happiness of the 
community, remains the determining factor of 
individual happiness. Both must be rational, for 
morality can consider only rational beings. ' 

An involuntary distrust seizes upon us with 
regard to a morality founded upon happiness. 
Is not this the unchaining of all the passions and 
all the appetities? We may remark, however, 

^ The author will develop in a special work the system of moral- 
ity based exclusively upon happiness (Progress and Happiness), 
with the ramifications of secondary principles with which it is 

3IO XKe Science of Happiness 

that, while believing it just, we have in view for 
its practice, only a human race which, without 
being superior, will have understood its real 
interests. To reach it will require a preliminary 
culture as well as a rational comprehension of 
happiness. Sooner or later, this education will 
triumph. First of all, it will be necessary to make 
mankind abandon its false ideas, that it may offer 
us good men. 

This education has the pecuHarity that it 
imposes upon us the duty of being our own edu- 
cators. It asks us to regulate our own lives and to 
bring them into harmony with our own happiness, 
in order that the happiness of others may be 

XIV. A morality, based upon happiness as 
its object, is at any rate more elevated than that 
based upon fear. It is more dignified, more 
generous, and especially more human. It acts 
in the broad light and possesses divine simplicity. 
The sacrifices it will impose will be so much the 
sweeter because their aim will be more easily 
understood. The obligation to do our duty solely 
through duty, in view of duty alone, seems at the 
present day, in spite of the authority of Kant, a 
childish and unrealisable desire. Herbert Spencer 
was right in saying that a human society living 

TKe Morality of Happiness 31 1 

upon Kant's principle would be unbearable. 
Absolute duty, placed outside of individual and 
social interests, makes us smile, like the Dalai 
Lama, who, invisible and confined, expects to 
rule as a superior being. For duty itself is defined 
by purposes which have given it birth, and which 
maintain its essence, as the sap vivifies the tree. 

The salvation which the morality of happiness 
promises, moreover, appears more certain than 
that of the moralities founded upon heavenly 
recompense or the fear of hell. Besides, these 
latter are more and more out of fashion. 



I. Definitions of happiness aboiind. They are 
not only numerous, they are especially contradict- 
ory. There is the special happiness of the scorners 
of life; there is another for those by whom life is 
exalted. A philosopher's mode of life produces 
in his consciousness the desire for a wise happiness ; 
a dissipated life arouses the aspiration for a happi- 
ness base in its essence. 

But what is true happiness? We feel it suffi- 
ciently when we see happy people. Yet we are 
much perplexed when the attempt is made to 
define their happiness. We all find ourselves 
somewhat in the position of Saint Augustine. 
" If you should ask me, " he says, ''what Time is, I 
should not know how to tell you. But I know 
perfectly so long as I am not asked. " 

We may try, however, to derive from the dif- 
ferent causes of happiness the conditions which 

create it and make it endure. Let us note, chiefly, 


"WKat Is Happiness ? 313 

that happiness assumes all forms, for it is fashioned 
according to our souls, and therefore infinitely 
variable. The more elevated it is, the more per- 
manent. And these two qualities, elevation and 
permanency, constitute the attributes of the ideal 
happiness. But it is not enough to desire a lofty 
happiness, we must also deserve it. Like certain 
plants of rare quality, happiness grows only in 
favourable places. For its reception and its re- 
tention a well-adapted soul is needed. To en- 
joy the happiness of a Plato, a man must have 
lived like Plato. Above all, he must have thought 
of life and conceived it in the manner of Plato. 

Nor will the definition of happiness framed by 
a Socrates correspond with that of a depraved 
gambler or of a hardened pessimist. Yet the 
conceptions of happiness formed by good men 
have many chances of coinciding. This harmony, 
however, requires a preliminary understanding re- 
lative to the extent and to the objects of happiness ; 
for the majority of thinkers and of philosophers 
confuse in a regrettable manner happiness and 
pleasure, happiness and feHcity, and even, as 
Voltaire has proved, happiness and happiness. 

II. Happiness, properly so-called, has only an 
ephemeral duration, while felicity presupposes a 
condition that is relatively stable, if not permanent. 

314 THe Science of Happiness 

According to the dictionary of the encyclopae- 
dists, happiness comes from without. It is orig- 
inally a good hour, ' very limited in time. We may 
feel a happiness, without being happy. 

Happiness, thus limited, resembles pleasure, 
whose weight, however, is lighter. For pleasure 
may last only the space of a moment, and vanish 
with the rapidity of a flash of lightning. Again, 
there is the happiness which is the consequence of 
fortunate events, and a happiness limited to one 
pleasant fact. 

III. Happiness, when it strikes its roots into 
our inward life, is transformed into felicity. 
This is the happiness which is most stable, most 
enduring, and most easy to acquire. We ourselves 
are its creators, and we remain its masters. It is 
an almost permanent condition. It secures the 
balance of our soul and guarantees to it a harmony 
that is difficult to find and still more difficult to 
destroy. As we have considered it in the course 
of this work, it forms the right of the individual. 
At the same time it urges itself as a duty to be 
accomplished. The individual has the right to be 

* Bonheur, the French word for happiness, is composed of bon 
(good) and heur {heure, hoar) whose final e is supposed to be 
dropped in the word. The Enghsh happiness is not formed of 
words having the same meaning as the French ones, and therefore 
the suggestion is lost. 

WKat Is Heppiness ? 315 

happy, but he has also the dut}^ of being so in order 
to secure the greatest benefit of the community. 
The man who is truly happy is he who enjoys a 
serenity of soul the causes of which flow from his 
inner life. The more profound this inner life is, 
the loftier the motives which direct it, the more 
beautiful, intense, and permanent will be the 
happiness which it produces. 

It is in conformity with this meaning that 
Descartes' distinguishes "happiness" from "beati- 
tude. " "The former depends solely upon things 
that are without us, while beatitude consists in a 
perfect contentment of mind and an inward satis- 
faction, which are not ordinarily possessed by those 
who are the most favoured by fortune, and which 
philosophers acquire without its aid." And Des- 
cartes adds to his definition this clever remark: 
"It seems to me that each man may be content 
with himself, without expecting anything else- 
where." In saying this, Descartes has only 
formulated, in other terms, the ancient definition 
of Aristotle, so often laid under contribution by the 
philosophers of all the ages. 

"Happiness is something perfect, for it is 
sufficient unto itself. It is accessible to all, since 
there is no man, provided that he is not so banned 

^ Correspondance. 

3i6 THe Science of Happiness 

by Nature as to be incapable of any virtue, who 
may not obtain it through effort or study." In 
short, Aristotle says, "happiness is an employ- 
ment of the activity of the soul, conformably with 

IV. Serenity of soul must not be confounded 
with the inactivity or the passive contemplation 
of the Nirvana. Life is movement, and happiness, 
which is simply the sublime aspiration of life, can 
be found only in action, in the development of 
our physical, moral, and intellectual faculties. 
Our intellect models this activity according to 
its character. The work of a philosopher, having 
a different point of departure and aiming toward a 
different goal, will not be identical with the same 
work performed at his side by a man with ordinary 
aspirations. This is why a noble activity of the 
soul is requisite for a noble happiness, the only 
one which is intense and permanent. 

By taking the strict point of view, by basing 
happiness upon the outbursts of animal joy, or 
upon the brutal expression of our countenances, the 
special "happiness" produced by general paralysis 
was confused with happiness in the true meaning 
of the word. The sick man in this condition shows 
the maximum of satisfaction with life. He believes 
in his blooming health, his extraordinary endur- 

MTHat Is Happiness? 317 

ance, his physical beauty. He believes that his 
dwelHng, however plain it may be, is one of the 
most sumptuous abodes. He believes, above all, 
in his happiness, which leaves nothing to be de- 
sired. Gradually his brain weakens. He imagines 
himself to be the richest, the most powerful of all 
men on the earth. He is a sovereign, he is the 
Pope, he is the autocrat of the entire universe. 
But this pleasant illusion does not last long. The 
patient undergoes terrible awakenings, then comes 
the tragic collapse, definite and fatal. 

By following the same track, Cesare Lombroso, 
who has devoted profound pages to the psychology 
of the insane, considers that, among the latter, 
happiness shows itself in an intense and lasting 
manner. Lombroso, among other instances, cites 
this curious one of a poor paralytic who, incapable 
of bringing two ideas into harmony, incessantly 
repeated, during the last two days before his 
death: "How happy I am! 0, how happy I am!" 

On the other hand, the disciples of Cesare Lom- 
broso teach that if happiness shows itself in 
geniuses, it is only in so far as they approach 
madness (megalomaniacs, epileptics, etc.) and, at 
any rate, their happiness would be of very brief 

V. We have seen that true happiness, in other 

3l8 THe Science of Happiness 

words, genuine felicity, depends, in the first place, 
upon our moral life. Without consciousness, 
happiness is only a decoy. Therefore it is futile 
to endeavour to oppose to it the mirages of happi- 
ness, accompanying certain unconscious conditions 
of our souls. So it is incorrect to talk of the happi- 
ness brought about by general paralysis, or by 
madness. The 'atter does not differ from the 
intoxication caused by opium or hashish. Fleet- 
ing sensations, however agreeable they may be, do 
not replace happiness. The superiority found, in 
this respect, among lunatics or paralytics, is merely 
the longer persistence of their delusions. If happi- 
ness were obtainable on these terms, we should 
only need to multiply narcotics while giving them 
the mission of guiding us to death. 

On the other hand, what is to be compared with 
the happiness of a genius accomplishing the task 
of his life, of an inventor before his successful 
invention, or of a writer, in love with his work, 
who sees it born and growing before his eyes! 
The briefest moments of their joy often suffice to 
blot out a whole lifetime of troubles and sufferings. 

VI. Spinoza, who has founded his ethics upon 
the will to live, sees- in this the cause, all the 
causes, of happiness. We must act, he tells us, 
according to the requirements of our personality. 

"WKat Is Happiness ? 319 

This liberation of the inward forces constitutes joy, 
happiness. There is no Hberty, and consequently 
no joy greater than that of following the mandates 
of our nature. 

This conception of Spinoza is maintained by 
all who love life, and who have striven to reconcile 
man to it. According to Goethe, man's worth, as 
well as his happiness, depends upon his ability to 
give value to existence. Like Spinoza, the im- 
mortal author of Faust considered human per- 
sonality as bearing its object within itself.' 
Our own improvement is the object of our exist- 
ence; that is why we cannot neglect it and, by 
pursuing it, we secure our happiness. 

This fundamental conception of happiness is 
found, with its various modifications, in almost 
all the lay moralists who, far from breaking away 
from life, strive to reconcile human beings to its 
demands and its joys. 

VII. To find a more concrete definition, we 
might have recourse to the sensations of pain and 
of pleasure. Intermingled in life, pleasures and 
troubles, according to the dominating result of 
the one or of the other, present themselves to our 

^ The purpose of life is life itself. . . . And elsewhere : Pleasure^ 
joy, interest in things is the sole reality. ... All else is idle and 

320 THe Science of Happiness 

eyes under the form of happiness or of misery. 
But this impression is not always trustworthy, 
for the sensations, the pains, or the pleasures have 
a value which is sometimes unequal, which some- 
times does not admit of comparison. 

Pleasures are chiefly of a higher or of a lower 
essence. The more noble their source, the more 
easily we can evoke them through memory. Thus 
we can more readily reproduce the sensations 
caused by a beautiful symphony or a painting of 
Raphael, than the pleasures afforded by the taste of 
a fine champagne of 1815, or of a dish of swallows' 

So we have an interest in seeking lofty pleasures. 
The enjoyments which they procure are more 
varied, more intense, and especially more amenable 
to our will. Yet pleasures are inconceivable with- 
out pains. Their value depends upon the contrast 
which these latter present. Without pains, life 
would become colourless, therefore without charm. 
We must try to lessen the extent of our sorrows, 
of our pains, of our sufferings, for life inflicts them 
in an extravagant way, but we must neither hope 
for nor desire their total extinction. As evil 
lends value to good, and cold to heat, pain enters 
into the price of our happiness. But the philo- 
sopher will know how to hold it at a distance, 

"WHat Is Happiness ? 321 

while an ill-balanced mind will succumb to its 

Happiness draws woe in its train, as pleasure 
is followed by sorrow. But it is only neces- 
sary to purify and to ennoble trouble, and its 
essence will dissolve into happiness, the instinctive 
inspiration of our life. 

Noble pleasures may be infinitely multiplied. 
Nay, thanks to the imagination, they can become 
inexhaustible riches. We can remember a book, 
be enraptured by its ideas, enjoy an indescribable 
pleasure in evoking its beauty. We recall a 
pretty landscape and again mentally live in its 
charms. When we love a friend sincerely, the 
mere thought of being able to render him a service, 
of knowing that he is happy, fills us with satis- 
faction and joy. Delighted by a lofty act of good- 
ness or of courage, we conjure it up and rejoice 
in its beneficent charms. 

The purer the source, the deeper are the pleas- 
ures which flow from it, while having a vast extent, 
and a limitless faculty of repetition. 

Vulgar pleasures, which are base in their essence, 
have, on the contrary, a brief duration. Moreover, 
they remain rebellious to the summons of our 
memories. There is a common saying, "to make 
the mouth water," when we think of certain dishes 

322 THe Science of Happiness 

or of rare drinks. Try to recall the memory of 
these sensations, and you will perceive their worth- 

A prejudice as old as human thought has always 
identified happiness with pleasure. But, as we 
have seen, pleasures may contribute to, but do not 
constitute happiness. 

It is wrong to proscribe pleasures as a whole, 
after the fashion of certain moralists or professional 
pessimists, but it is also wrong to deify them, an 
exaggeration in an inverse sense, practised by 
certain ancient schools. 

Pleasure is usually the expression of health, as 
pain signifies a morbid condition. 

Certain physiologists go to the point of discover- 
ing in pain the phenomenon of intoxication. 

The pessimists who assert that pleasure is a 
negative condition while pain is the positive 
element of life, singularly misunderstand the 
elementary psychology of our conditions of soul. 

We have demonstrated elsewhere the necessity 
for and the benefits derivable from pain; but its 
quantity should be greatly moderated. It re- 
sembles somewhat the condiments for certain 
foods, which enable us to possess a higher apprecia- 
tion of their properties. 

The apologists for pain insist far too much upon 

'WKat Is Happiness ? 323 

the facts of its priority. A pleasure, they say, is 
only an aspiration, or a satisfied need. But, 
the lack of something having preceded it, a lack 
being always painful, proves that pain had the 

This purely byzantine discussion, even though 
it were solved in favour of pain, would by no means 
give the victory to the pessimists. Our progress 
consists above all in transforming and ameliorat- 
ing the necessities of nature. We may note, 
moreover, that certain spontaneous pleasures are 
bom and develop almost outside of necessities. 
The charm of an unexpected conversation, the 
pleasant intercourse with strangers, a profit 
realised entirely without anticipation, in short, the 
whole vast scale of pleasures from causes foreign 
to our consciousness, come within this category. 

But pleasure, which at its commencement is the 
expression of the health of the organism, bears 
within itself the germ of death as soon as we abuse 
it. There is a threshold of appearances, and a 
threshold of disappearances by which this pleas- 
ure is limited. The Epicureans taught that in 
the extreme phase of its ascent, pleasure, having 
become exuberant activity, simultaneously de- 
mands and exhausts all the resources of our 

324 XKe Science of Happiness 

Excess of pleasure simply destroys the condition 
of pleasure. Happiness asks, first of all, the 
stability that pleasure does not furnish. Happi- 
ness adopts pleasure, but pleasure is not happiness. 

Besides, as we have stated, the cause, or if we 
prefer, the foundation of pleasure lies in our vital 
energy. The health of the body and of the mind, 
which are the bases of happiness, are also its 
essential elements. We must be. happy in order 
to feel pleasure, not enjoy pleasures in order to be 

Pleasures thus become mere branches of a liv- 
ing, deep-rooted tree — happiness. We must strive 
to be happy, and pleasures will come voluntarily, 
like the grass that grows under the beneficent 
influence of the morning dew. 

Vni. In following the gradation of pleasures, 
as elements constituting happiness, we discover 
that the duration and the extent of the latter de- 
pend, in the first place, upon the noble character 
of the sources from which these pleasures flow. 
Another consideration obtrudes itself: the more 
exalted and rare in essence the happiness is, the 
more accessible it is to us. It might be said that, 
unlike precious stones, beautiful and lasting causes 
of happiness abound. 

Yet how is it that there should be so few people 

"WHat Is Happiness ? 325 

who are really happy? It is because we lack a 
school of happiness. This feeHng, so complex in 
its nature, must be conquered. What is more 
simple than the cultivation of wheat? Yet a 
town-bred man would not know how to make the 
most fertile soil yield a harvest. We understand 
that to know how to appreciate a fine book, a 
pretty piece of music, a preHminary acquaintance 
is requisite. Offer a picture by Titian to a savage, 
he will cut it in pieces or use it to Hght a wood 
fire. A simple-minded soul, to whom we speak of 
the advantages of goodness, of happiness through 
the cultivation of the beautiful, of the joy of 
friendship, or of altruism, is doubtless in the posi- 
tion of the savage toward the masterpiece of a 

Happiness must be taught, as we teach grammar, 
or a foreign language. Its advantages and its 
weak sides must be seen, especially its beauties 
and its unsuspected treasures. 

When the education and the comprehension of 
happiness have forged their way, we shall see new 
generations rise. They will know how to make 
our existence valued at its true worth, and will 
gather the joy of living where we find only causes 
to weep. The sources of happiness which we so 
imprudently squander will be reconstituted, and 

326 TKe Science of Happiness 

from the crumbs which we let fall, millions of 
famished souls will be fed. 


I. Life imposes upon us duties, but it also 
gives us rights. Too much has been said of the 
former, while the latter has been overlooked. 
We have not understood that, by harmonising 
the burdens and the pleasures of life, we render 
the former easier and the latter more permanent. 
Happiness is the fruit of the union between the 
severe commands of life and its caresses. 

The science of happiness chiefly proves that the 
real happiness of the individual is joined with 
that of society. An isolated happiness is as un- 
stable as would be the fate of a rich man amid 
neighbours who were starving to death. 

Our life and our happiness depend in the first 
place upon ourselves, for everything that tends 
to illuminate our existence with lasting joy, to 
render it beautiful and attractive, is found within 

Genuine happiness consists in living our own 
life. That is the real, intense life, of which so 
much has been said in these latter days. But, 
intense life is only the omnipotent desire to live 
and to live happily. Our will contains inexhaust- 

W^Hat Is Happiness? 327 

ible treasures of felicity, and toward its strength- 
ening, its development, and the enrichment of 
its contents, a life conscious of its aims must 

Happiness thus understood is first of all in 
accord with morality, for it finds itself in complete 
harmony with the noblest social aspirations. 

II. The more we reflect, the more we find that 
happiness is exclusively a product of the moral 
life. Material conditions undoubtedly contrib- 
ute to it, as rain and fine weather increase the 
fertihty of the soil, but the sky can do nothing 
without the soil itself. 

Personal happiness is never in conflict with 
social happiness, so long as it allows itself to be 
guided by the true value of the principles of life. 
It is the conventional conception, elaborated 
through the centuries, regarding wealth, envy, the 
pleasures or the domination of men, which makes 
us seek objects contrary to social prosperity. 

The contradictions which are visible between 
individual and social happiness are only apparent. 
These are chiefly due to a superannuated edu- 
cation whose conventional foundations have not 
changed for thousands of years. When this edu- 
cation, better directed, has transformed our ideas 
of things, certain laws will become superfluous, as 

328 TKe Science of Happiness 

has already happened to certain rules of hygiene or 
of public decency. 

Therefore we shall find it is often sufficient 
merely to perceive genuine happiness, to bring 
it shining among us. 

The contradictions between our egotism or our 
interest and that of our environment, it is true, 
do not cease to sadden us. We deplore their 
fatal hostility, and go so far as to conceive doubts 
of the possibility of a better humanity. 

But we forget that it is not our real interest 
which causes so much evil, but our incapacity to 
comprehend our real interest. 

We ought to move toward and to realise happi- 
ness. This aspiration of our souls acting within 
us permanently, we must render its object loftily 
moral in order to have our life, in its turn, ennobled 
and dignified in its essence. 

There is a pedagogy of happiness, and its 
possibilities are infinite. Given the appetite for 
happiness, this pedagogy will create the most 
efficacious means of becoming happy. Among 
other precepts it will implant in the human mind 
that it is not wishes fulfilled, but duties accom- 
plished, which most surely and most easily procure 

Our morality and our Hfe, being restored to 

WKat Is Happiness? 329 

their real sources, guided and inspired by an 
instinctive and innate necessity which hovers as 
sovereign lord above the ages and the vague 
humanities, will find themselves for that very 
reason solidified and endowed with a vitality that 
bids defiance to the doubts and the paralysis of 
our intellect. 

I will go further. MoraHty, thus conceived, will 
answer to a sort of categorical imperative, not 
transcendental, after the method of Kant, but 
human and operating within the Hmits of our 
faculties. When we disobey the morality of 
happiness, we disobey, at the same time, the ex- 
igencies of life. We diminish our own personality 
and condemn ourselves to a slow suicide. 

This morality is thus united to the fate of 
man by indissoluble bonds, bonds of flesh and of 
aspiration, of the body and of the soul. 

We need only transfer the ideas of the sublime 
consciousness into the unconsciousness, and hap- 
piness, vivified and ennobled by the Force-Ideas, 
will offer us the most human of moralities. 

III. Everything warrants the belief that the 
human race is moving through the ages, towards a 
juster appreciation of the object and the essence 
of Hfe. 

Human perfectibiHty is without limits. When 

330 TKe Science of Happiness 

we think that beings like Jesus Christ, Buddha, 
Zarathustra, or Saint Francis of Assisi were 
born in environments filled with vice and moral 
corruption, we feel almost dazzled by the idea of 
those who will come into the world as products 
of our more and more social and altruistic civil- 
isation. The action of these highly gifted souls 
has deeply impressed human beings and has 
changed their lives and their ideals. A few more 
personalities of this elevation of mind and of 
heart, and our moral conceptions will rise many 
degrees. According to Herbert Spencer, human 
evolution will some day lead us to such a height, 
that moral conduct will be instinctive and will 
dispense with all constraint. After all, moral 
life, with its endless extent, lends itself better to 
change than do certain physiological peculiarities. 
Yet Burbank has succeeded in growing cacti 
without thorns and plums without stones. Have 
we not now numerous varieties of thornless roses? 
Let us have faith in the triumph of men who will 
know how to rid themselves some day of the pre- 
tences which destroy the joy of living. 

Teachers of oecological botany show us how, 
under the influence of Alpine or Polar climates, 
annuals are transformed into biennial or perennial 
species. What will men develop into under the 

WHat I5 Happiness? 331 

influence of the new moral currents which are 
visibly appearing on the horizon? 

The attempt has been made to find in the blind 
a sixth sense, the sense of obstacles. One thing is 
certain, that we all have within us the sense of 
happiness, but it is closely hidden in the depths 
of our being; it is distorted and covered by a 
deposit of artificial feelings. 

Let us endeavour to release it from these; let 
us restore it to its proper position by destroy- 
ing the prejudices which stifle and prevent its 

Above all, let us educate it. Some day, the 
sense of happiness, bursting forth in the plenitude 
of its powers, will transform the moral universe. 

IV. Therefore, let us not despair of individual 
and collective happiness. Both have extremely 
deep roots. Auxiliaries are coming to them from 
all directions. The world has become more kindly 
to us, and its mysterious forces are rendering 
themselves the slaves of man. He understands 
and utilises them better. The Infinite, subjected 
to rigorous laws, seems to be more friendly. At 
any rate, it is less threatening. We are taking 
possession more and more of the earth, and even 
of the air. Discounting, in advance, the duration 
of our stay on earth, we desire it to be equitable. 

332 THe Science of Happiness 

Brutal conquests are daily becoming more repug- 
nant to us. Man's purified conscience is opposed 
to the unjust spoliations committed to the detri- 
ment of his brothers. On the earth, whose crust 
has been hardened and rendered solid by the 
ages, we aspire to a life governed by stable laws, 
and not by the caprices of Force. 

Sociology only raises our hopes. Progress, 
like the divine artist of Homer, engraves upon the 
brass of time scenes of peace and of happiness. A 
gentle and smiling fairy appears to preside over 
the human destinies of the future. 

We are daily more respectful toward one another. 
Our dignity is ascending step by step, as well as 
our sentiments of justice and of truth. There 
are more joy and sympathy on our planet. Sorrow 
seems to be weaker. Some day mankind will 
shelter in its bosom, with the same love, the 
children of every colour and of every creed. 

Meanwhile, half the human race, namely the 
women, are profiting by more equity. From the 
rank of the slaves of man, or of inferior beings, we 
behold them elevated to the level of his equals. 

The State is multiplying its duties and perform- 
ing them in a more satisfactory manner. It is 
becoming reconciled to the principle of equality. 
It is more attentive to the voice of Justice. It is 

WKat Is Happiness? 333 

urging, in any case, a more and more equitable 
distribution of burdens and of duties. 

Thought descends into the huts of the disin- 
herited to bring caressing dreams. The hope of 
earthly salvation fills our hearts. This hope 
rests mainly upon Solidarity and her companion, 
Goodness, which some day will take possession 
of our planet. These anticipations gladden the 
life of collective mankind, as the hope of success 
and of happiness animates individually almost all 
its members. 

Have I succeeded in establishing the possibility 
and the benefits of the Science of Happiness ? My 
attempt is doubtless imperfect. So be it. Do we 
condemn painting because an unskilful artist 
gives an inadequate idea of beaut}^? After me, 
or along with me, others will succeed far better 
in achieving the triumph of the thesis which I 
hold dear. I will add that they will not be capable 
of loving it more ardently. . . . 

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Inhericance as at present known, the general conclusions which have been securely 
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20. —Climate — Considered Especially in Relation to Man. By Robert 
DeCourcy Ward, Assistant Professor of CUmatology in Harvard 
University. 8°. Illustrated. Net, $2.00. 

This volume is intended for persons who have not had special training in the tech- 
nicalities of climatology. Climate covers a wholly different field from that included in 
the metJTcrr^logical text-books. It handles broad questions of climate in a way which has 
not been attempted in a single volume The needs of the teacher and student have been 
kept constantly in mind. 

21. — Age, Growth, and Death. By Charles S. Minot, James Still- 
man Professor of Comparative Anatomy in Harvard University, 
President of the Boston Society of Natural History, and Author of 
"Human Embryology,'' *' A Laboratory Text-book of Embryology," 
etc. 8°, Illustrated. $2.50 net. 

This volume deals with some of the fundamental problems of biology, and presents 
a series of views (the results of nearly thirty years of study), which the author has 
correlated for the first time in systematic form. 

22.— The Interpretation of Nature. By C. Lloyd Morgan, LL D. 

F.R.S. Crown 8vo. Net, $1.25. 
Dr. Morgan seeks to prove that a belief in purpose as the causal reality of which 
nature is an expression is not inconsistent with a full and whole-hearted acceptance of 
the explanations of naturalism. 

23. — Mosquito Life. The Habits and Life Cycles of the Known Mos- 
quitoes of the United States ; Methods for their Control ; and Keys for 
Easy Identification of the Species in their Various Stages. An account 
based on the investigation of the late James William Dupree, Surgeon- 
General of Louisiana, and upon the original observations by the Writer. 
By Evelyn Groesbeeck Mitchell, A.B., M.S. With 64 Illustra- 
tions. 8°. Net, $2.00. 

This volume has been designed to meet the demand of the constantly increasing 
number of students for a ^y•o^k presenting in compact form the essential facts so far made 
known by scientific investigation in regard to the different phases of this, as is now con- 
ceded, important and highly interesting subject. While aiming to keep within reason- 
able bounds, that it may be used for work in the field and in the laboratory, no portion 
of the work has been slighted, or fundamental information omitted, in the endeavor to 
carry this plan into effect. 

24. — Thinking, Feeling, Doing. An Introduction to Mental Science. 

By E. W. Scripture, Ph.D., M.D., Assistant Neurologist Columbia 

University, formerly Director of the Psychological Laboratory at Yale 

University. 189 Illustrations. 2d Edition, Revised and Enlarged. 

8°. Net, $1.75. 

" The chapters on Time and Action, Reaction Time, Thinking Time, Rhythmic 

Action, and Power and Will are most interesting. This book should be carefully read 

by every one who desires to be familiar with the advances made in the study of the 

mind, which advances, in the last twenty-five years, have been quite as striking and 

epoch-making as the strides made in the more material lines of knowledge." — Jour. 

Amer. Med, Ass'n.y Feb. 22, 1908. , 

25.— The World's Gold. By L. de Launay, Professor at the Ecole 

Superieure des Mines. Translated by Orlando Cyprian Williams. 

With an Introduction by Charles A. Conant, author of ** History of 

Modern Banks of Issue," etc. 8°. Net, $1.75. 

M. de Launay is a professor of considerable repute not only in France, but among 

scientists throughout the world. In this work he traces the various uses and phases 

of gold ; first, its geology ; secondly, its extraction ; thirdly, its economic value. 

26. — The Interpretation of Radium. By Frederick Soddy, Lecturer 
in Physical Chemistry in the University of Glasgow. Third Edition, 
rewritten with data brought down to 1912. 8°. With 33 Diagrams 
and Illustrations. $2.00 net. 
As the application of the present-day interpretation of Radium (that it is an element 
undergoing spontaneous disintegration) is not confined to the physical sciences, but has 
a wide and general bearing upon our whole outlook on Nature, Mr. Soddj^ has presented 
the subject in non-technical language, so that the ideas involved are within reach of the 
lay reader. No effort has been spared to get to the root of the matter and to_ secure 
accuracy, so that the book should prove serviceable to other fields of science and investi- 
gation, as well as to the general public. 

27. — Criminal Man. According to the Classification of Cesare Lom- 
BROSO. Briefly Summarized by his Daughter, Gina Lombroso Ferrero. 
With 36 Illustrations and a Bibliography of Lombroso's Publications 
on the Subject. 8°. Net, $2.00. 
Signora Guglielmo Ferrero's resume of her father's work on criminal anthropolo^ is 
specially dedicated to all those whose office It is to correct, reform, and punish the crimi- 
nal, with a view to diminishing the injury caused to society by his anti-social acts ; also 
to superintendents, teachers, and those engaged in rescuing orphans and children^ of 
vicious habits, as a guide in checking the development of evil germs and eliminating 
incorrigible subjects whose example is a source of corruption to others 
28. — The Origin of Life. Being an Account of Experiments with Certain 
Superheated Saline Solutions in Hermetically Sealed Vessels. By II. 
Charlton Bastian, M.D., F.R.S., Emeritus Professor of the Princi- 
ples and Practice of Medicine, University College, London ; author of 
" The Nature and Origin of Living Matter," " The Evolution of Life," 
etc. 8vo. With 10 Plates Containing 61 Illustrations from Photo- 
micrographs. Net, $1.50. '^ 
'* This most noteworthy and compelling book . . . The question — both as to 
the supposed origin of life once and for all, and also as to .he supposed impassable gap 
of to-day — is surpassed in interest by iiothiig in the whole range of physical sciences; if, 
indeed, there be any to equal it wheth. r in interest or in moment for philoscphv " 

The Morning PosL 

29. — The Bacillus of Long Life. 

A Manual of the Preparation and Souring of Milk for Dietary Pur« 
poses; Together with an Historical Account of the Use of Fermented 
Milks from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, and their Wonder- 
ful Effect in the Prolonging of Human Existence. By LouDON M. 
Douglas, F.R.S.E. 8vo. With 56 Illustrations. $1.50 net. 

This book has been designed with a view to meet an extensive demand for aefinite 
data on the subject of Soured Milks. The author has had this matter brought be^^ore 
him, times without number, by those inquiring for authentic information on the £_ bject, 
and he has therefore considered it desirable to gather together such information as u. 
-available in connection with ancient and modern practice. He has endeavored to pre. 
sent this to the reader in concise form. 

30. — The Social Evil. 

With Special Reference to Conditions Existing in the City of New 
York. A Report Prepared in 1902 under the Direction of the Com- 
mittee of Fifteen. Second Edition, Revised, with New Material Cover- 
ing the years 1902-1911. Edited by Edwin R. A. Seltgman, LL.D., 
McVickar Professor of Political Economy in Columbia University. 
8vo. $1.75 net. 
A study that is far from being of merely local interest and application. The prob- 
lem is considered in all its aspects and. for this purpose, reference has beenraadeto 
conditions prevailinc; in other communities and to the different attempts foreign cities 
have made to regu.ate vice. 

31. — Microbes and Toxins. 

By EriKNNE Burni.t, of the Pasteur Institute, Paris. With an In- 
troduction by Elie Metchnikoff, Sub-Director of the Pasteur Institute, 
Paris. With about 71 Illustrations. $ net. 
A well-known English authority said m recommending the volume: " Incomparably 
the best book there is on this tremendously important subject. In fact, I am assured 
that nothing exists which gives anythin-^ like so full a study of microbiology'." In the 
volume are considered the general functions of microbes, the microbes of the human 
system, the form and structure of microbes, the physiology of microbes, the pathogenic 
protozoa, toxins, tuberculin and mallein, immunity, applications of bacteriology, vaccines 
and serums, chemical remedies, etc. 

32. — Problems of Life and Reproduction, 

By Marcus Hartog, D. Sc , Professor of Zoology in University 

College, Cork. 8vo. $2.50 net. 
The author uses all the legitimate arms of scientific controversy in assailing certain 
views that have been widely pressed on the general public with an assurance that must 
have given many the impression that they were protected by the universal concensus of 
biologists. Among the subjects considered are: "The Cellular Pedigree and the Prob- 
lem of Hereditv "; " The Relation of Brood-Formation to Ordinary Cell-Division "; 
" The New Force, Mitokinetism "; " Nuclear Reduction and the Function of Chroism '*; 
•■ Fertilization "; " The Transmission of Acquired Characters"; Mechanism and Life"; 
"The Biolojical Writings of Samuel Butler^"; "Interpolation in Memory"; "The 
Teaching of Nature_Study." 

33.— Problems of the Sexes. 

By Jean Finot, Author of *' The Science of Happiness," etc. Trans- 
lated under authority by Mary J. Safford. 8vo. $2.00 net. 

A masterly presentation of the attitude of the ages toward women and an eloquent 
plea for her further enfranchisement from imposed and unnatural limitations. The 
range of scholarship that has been enlisted in the writing may well excite one|s wonder, 
but the tone of the book is popular and its appeal Is not to any small section of^ the 
reading public but to all the classes and degrees of an age that, from present indications, 
will go down in history as the century of Woman. 

34.— The Positive Evolution of Religion, 

Its Moral and Social Reaction. By Frederic HARRISON. Svo, 
$2 00 net. 
The author has undertaken to estimate the moral and social reaction of various 
forms of Religion— beginning with Nature Worship, Polytheism, Catholicism, Prot- 
estantism, and Deism. The volume may be looked upon as the final word, the sum. 
m-iry of the celebrated author's philosophy— a systematic study of the entire religiou* 

35. — The Primitive Family as an Educational Agency. By Arthur 

James Todd, Ph.D., of the Department of Sociology, University of 

Illinois. 8^ Net, $1.75. 

From widely scattered sources — travels, ethnoijraphy, folk-lore, studies in the evolu- 
tion of the law, morals, etc., and personal observation— the author has collected evidence 
on such problems as the economic basis of family life, the position of the wife, promis- 
cuity, group-marriage, divorce, sex taboos, procreation myths, the couvade; primitive, 
moral, and vocational instruction; initiations, puberty ceremonies, etc. The fact that 
much of primitive education was genuine social education is strongly emphasized. One 
of the most fascinating parts of the book traces the varying sense of relationship between 
child and parent: now he is related to his mother, now to his father, and only in later 
times to both. 

36.— The Belief in Personal Immortality. By E. S. P. Haynes, Author 
of " Religious Persecution," '* Divorce Problems of To-Day," etc. 
12°. Net, $1.25. 

It is at once an historical survey of the beliefs held in various ages and by various 
peoples and an inquiry into the validity of the arguments advanced. The author con- 
siders: (i) the primitive origins of the belief in dreams, ghosts, revelations, and what is 
called animism; (2) the ancient and medieval conceptions of immortality as an ethical 
necessity, which is part of a scheme of divine justice; and (3) the more modern concep- 
tion of immortality as a desirable development of personal activities and affections. 
Having traced the history of the belief in immortality, the author takes up for consider- 
ation the present status of such belief and arguments advanced in its support, and the 
bearing of modern science and thought thereon. 

37. — Sex Antagonism. By Walter Heape, M.A., F.R.S. 8°. Net, 

The author traces the age-old struggle for supremacy between the masculine and the 
feminine elements in society, and shows that to the domination now of one, now of the 
other, are traceable some of the world's most fundamental institutions and social princi- 
ples. Walter Heape is a biologist, and it is from the biological standpoint that he has 
approached the subject. The book is one which has a vital bearing not only upon certain 
theories of anthropology; in an equal degree it must be taken into account if an intelli- 
gent grasp is desired of all the implications and issues involved in the present agitation 
for sex equality.